Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Oregon/Washington trip summary post.....

Yeah, I got distracted, by what I don't know because it's not like my days were not mostly my own, but time got away from me and I stopped blogging after Astoria, so what came next?

We left Astoria and set off for Enumclaw, a few hours away and the home of a friend who offered their driveway for a weekend visit.  Lot's of fun times, a darling little town and a day trip to Mt. Rainier which was amazing!

Next a short drive to Woodinville where we hung out for a week with another driveway friend.  We've been before and it's a great spot.

Unrelated to travel but my brilliant husband made this to replace the white plastic one....I'm not a big fan of white plastic so it was much appreciated.  An Ikea cutting board cut round.

Our Woodinville home for a week.  Great weather and a couple of outings, one to Leavenworth, which we didn't even know was a Bavarian town....very touristy but fun enough.  Mark was in search of a particular winery to acquire a poster that he had seen and loved in Enumclaw.  Turned out to be a nice day.  We also did an outing to Edmonds and one to Bellevue where there just happens to be a glassy baby store.

Breeze had been released THAT day, how lucky was I do have been able to pick out my own?  and the second teal one is gratitude of which I have much.

Next driveway, Sequim Washington and the beach house of a friend....our driveway luck has been very very good!

We left Sequim and took many many a windy road back through Astoria and stopping once again at Rudy's roadside grill for the best burger and the absolutely best brussel sprouts ever.  Then off to Manzanita.

I'm a scaredy cat plain and simple, I don't like windy roads with sheer drops.  Every now and then I meet someone who is the same and we lament over the fact that if you don't have that particular fear, you just don't get it.  Well all the way to Seattle, no scary roads, all was good.  Almost all the way to Manzanita was good and then came THE MOUNTAIN, sheer drop to the ocean.....I willed myself to breathe and it was a short span, but it terrified me and got me fearing the rest of our coastal plans. would take backtracking to go back to the 5, where Eugene was 109 degrees and there were that was not practical.....So we carried on the next morning and I was fine, nothing scary.  We made it to Bannon by the Sea and from there a little more south and we cut over to Garberville.  The giant redwoods were awesome!

I like to change up the table decor.  This was the view at  Nehalem State park which was near Manzanita Oregon

After a night in Garberville and an excellent dinner at the recommended Benbow historic inn we headed to Santa Cruz for a visit with the kids.  Santa Cruz RV redwoods is like coming home to us.  We stay there often and adore being in the trees and near family.  I also got to eat at Shogun my favorite Sushi in downtown Santa Cruz and meet my friend Rachel for hummus and bagels at the bagelry.

One final night and I decided to treat ourselves to an ocean view site in Malibu.....It was magical, expensive but magical and I can see doing it again!

So that sums up the rest of our West Coast trip this year.  I had to do it so I could move on to the next trip, the Albuquerque Balloon Festival!  Absolutely cannot wait, have wanted to do this forever!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Ft. Stevens and Astoria

So we were excited to travel to Ft. Stevens as I'd read much about the Oregon Coast and was anxious to explore.  We arrived to our assigned spot on loop O site 44....last loop of 8 towards the South.  Driving through we saw some really pretty sites tucked into woodsy settings and really private.  That would be loop M, now I know.  I guess I don't do my research well enough, all loops look the same on the map, but it turns out loop O is the family tent camping loop.  Translate to lots of kids on bikes, very crowded rest rooms and not so private.  Sigh.....but we enjoyed it.  We walked around the lake which we clocked at 2.8 miles instead of the 2 mile loop on the signage, but it was a nice amount of exercise.

We also visited the beach and took a drive to Cannon beach.  A huge downside was NO internet or cell service, none.  Yes I am a tad dependent on my internet.  I would do it again however, but I would do it on the M loop for sure.

Highlights in Cannon Beach were a yarn store and a gift and home decorator store called Sesame + Lilies.  I enjoyed both and purchased some soft new squishy hand dyed yarn which I immediately cast on.  Mark's vest is still on the needles but I just couldn't resist casting this version of the Hitchhiker.

On the way to Cannon beach I spotted Rudy's Roadside Grill in Seaside which seemed to have an expansive view off the back so I kept it in mind for a lunch stop.  It was brilliant.  Best brussel sprout crisps I've ever had and the view was extraordinary!

We decided to cancel our plans to go to Portland and stay near Astoria and I'm glad we did.  We got lucky and were able to return to the Lewis and Clark Golf and RV resort where we celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary on the 4th of July.  It was grey and rainy all day so we hunkered down, shared a bottle of wine and made a beautiful meal together.

The fifth was cool but bright and sunny and we went off to Astoria for the day.  We wandered around a couple of shops including the Vintage Hardware shop which was very intriguing.  I found floor mats out of vintage linoleum prints and I do believe this one will be purchased before we leave.  It will make a great low profile bedroom 'rug' for the airstream.

We had lunch at Baked Alaska.  We tried sitting on the outside patio but it was just too cold!  The views were spectacular and the food was excellent.   They also had designer cocktails so I was forced into trying a Holen Old Fashioned.  I now must search for NW Aquavit, Scrappy's cardamon bitters and AO Whiskey.  The final touch a sprig of rosemary set fire at the table and when it goes out you stir the drink with it to impart a smoky flavor.  Todays outing will be to the distillery where I understand they have the Aquavit.

Mark had to try the Baked Alaska which followed his menu choice of fish and chips and he never gains weight, it's annoying!  But the one bite I had I can report the meringue was perfection.

Next up the Astoria trolley, so fun!  Totally enamored with every bit of it.  It's a charming old trolley, staffed by volunteers who give you a bit of history to go along with the views.  I'm not one who likes to ride backwards on a train, so I wondered what might happen at the end of the line with only one trolley track.  Well, you're given instruction to stand up, lift the handle and push the back of the seat to the other side, facing front for the ride back!

Today I will visit the Touch of Whimsy museum because how could you not?  Plus visit the distillery for supplies and then prepare for tomorrows journey.

As of right now we're planning to take the long bridge over to the Washington side and travel the 101, heading East through Olympia and joining the 5, ending up at a friends in Enumclaw.

I'm a chicken so a road unknown is always a challenge but the good folks of an airstream Facebook group have assured me it's a piece of cake so wish me luck (You'd think I was driving or something, I'm not, I just have to survive my own nerves).  I'll report next week.  I'm expecting a weekend full of fun and laughter and not much time for blogging!  

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Oregon Coast and a kink in the plans

So we got up this morning, our last day of the Salem International Rally and the day we needed to depart the fairgrounds.  I got out our packet of important papers and put todays destination on top.....Wait, oh no, Check in to Ft. Stevens State Park July 1st.....Um, someone made a mistake, not saying who, but her initials are MAD.

Well fortunately we're early risers and we had time to recover. I download the Allstays App as recommended at one of the seminar rallies.  I hadn't used it previously but it turned out to provide a good solution.  But remember it is summer on the Oregon coast, prime rv travel time and it's Saturday night.  The first two or three phone calls resulted in the 'sorry, all booked' message.  I should have thought that places with pools, hot tubs, close to the ocean and generally more amenities were not going to be available.

Finally a spot in the Lewis and Clark RV and Gold resort was available!  I really wanted to get out to the coast and not spend more time where we'd been.  Later this week we'll travel back to Portland for a 4 day stay so I desperately wanted the coast.

Turns out it's really pretty here.  Of course the golf course view sites are reserved for  multiple day stays and are also full of Class A's who pull in forward so if we were to back in to a view we'd be awning to awning.  But for one night a pull through in a cool shady spot with nice greenery is pretty near perfect.

Their laundry, restroom and shower are also pristine so I see a nice long shower in my future.

Here was the route today, up the 5 onto the 217 and then the 26 out to the coast.  It was an easy drive and very picturesque.

On a one night stay with laundry to be done and a recommended seafood food truck and dining patio nearby we don't even bother to unhook.  No nesting patio with awning, rug, chairs and plants, but inside still gets the full treatment.

Her are some views from the drive today.  It is so spectacularly beautiful here.  I love the tall trees and dramatic skies.

The spots here are narrow but there are pretty trees, some lawn and a table.  Our outside thermometer is reading 77 but I think that's unlikely with completely overcast skies and a gentle breeze. (mystery solved, Mark just informed me the outside temperature sensor is not outside, it's in an upper cabinet. That explains it!)

Oh and before you ask,the most asked question, yes we do pull it with this SUV and yes it's safe and yes it can pull up mountains with no trouble.  We've been all over the rockies. 

Tomorrow we'll move over to Ft. Stevens and then do some exploring.  For now I have clean sheets and it's time to wrestle them back onto the beds.

Highlights of our stay in Salem

We arrived on Saturday and I spotted a raku class that would happen on Tuesday.  I keep it in mind and I'm happy I did.

On site at the Salem fairgrounds there is a Willamette art center.  The rally event coordinators worked with the art center to provide the air streamers with some art classes during the week.  There was acrylic pours, hand building a mug, water color and raku pottery painting.

The raku sounding intriguing and fit my schedule so off I went.  The three gentleman who took us through the process were potters themselves of course and provided a wealth of information.  First off we picked whichever greenware we wanted and then after a review of available glazes we began painting.

One off my smaller round pots I wanted to do something more decorative then just paint it.  Fortunately I had brought my knitting and had a pencil and more importantly a tape measure.  I was able to measure the circumference which was approximately 11 inches.   I made a mark every inch and then freeform the undulating bands I wanted to paint.  I had the foresight to mark the first one because as you paint the glaze dries and it's hard to see on the second and third coat where you began.

I finished my more tedious one and then did two more pots just covering the surfaces.  This is  where the fun begins.  They preheat the greenware on top of the kiln and then open it and put the glazed pieces inside.  They take the kiln up to a temperature of about 1800 degrees in about an hour and then it's time for the next step.  (This is turning into a long story.)  On day one ( day two is another story) I didn't realize the dramatic moment of the kiln opening would provide glowing orange greenware with flowing glaze.  It was fleeting and by the time I dug my phone out to capture the picture the moment was gone.

The next part of the process was to pick up the glowing greenware with tongs and deposit them in a small trash barrel which was lined with newspaper.  This caused the paper to flame and once flaming the lid was put on.  The lack of oxygen creates the chemical reaction that makes the various colors of the glaze come alive.

I had no idea I would be so totally enamored with the process.  I think what I liked is that you are forced to surrender control.  The variations in the glaze colors cannot be planned.  The fire does what it does.

Here are my three pots from Day One

So.....I loved this technique and asked if they were going to offer it again.  The gentleman in charge said if I had 6 or 7 people they'd do it again.  My neighbor was all in, but that made two of us, so the next morning we carried my pots and solicited anyone and everyone until we had enough for a class!  (The husbands would have had to step up to be five and six were relieved we made our quota) I had been dreaming of polka dots so I brought my tape measure, a quarter, a nickel, a penny and a dime.

This was slightly more of a challenge because I decided to paint the dots randomly different colors.  Well it turns out many of the glazes though wildly different in the finished product, look very similar when painting them.  So to identify the dots for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th coats I had to start coding them. There were x dots, and ( dots, and o dots and - dots.  

I was going to leave the clay between dots black but it was recommended to me that it might be dark and to consider a white crackle.  That turned out to be a great suggestion, thank you Kelly.

Kelly was aware of my excitement about seeing my polka dots come out of the raku fire so he had a bit of fun with me, remembering which pot he put it in out of the 5 and left it until last.  After the 4th he said 'that's it, all done' chuckling all the way.  Finally the unveiling happened and I was completely enamored with my newest pot!  Oh it's not perfect by any means, but unlike bead, fabric or yarn, when it's done it's done (except for a bit of scrubbing), and I think that's a good thing.  I could embrace imperfection a bit more.

Here's a photo of the glowing orange kiln reveal.   I was poised and ready this time.

So if you're following my travel blog, this one turned into a bit more of a maker blog (  But it's still a good topic.

Moving on......The second to last night we had a disco night with music and dancing.  I don't dance often and I don't dance well but when the opportunity presents itself, I enjoy it.  The band was led by singer and sax player Patrick Lamb.  I love saxophone so I loved this shot of the player in shadow.

Friday was our last day and we chose to visit the Oregon garden.  What a stunning place it was.  There were ten or so different types of gardens including this conifer garden with whimsical trees referred to as Dr. Suess trees.  There were over 600 varieties all labeled.  We took a tram around the entire property and learned all about the cooling of the water before it was returned to the watershed through the Pudding river.  It was a beautiful outing.

We followed that up with a trip to close by Historic Silverton where we had beautiful crepes sitting on a charming outdoor patio overlooking a creek bed.

We finished up our last night with a happy hour inviting all of the nearby neighbors we'd traveled with.  

Next up, the Oregon Coast and a kink in the plans!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Day three of Salem International

What a difference a day makes....Yesterday was a high of 88 with no clouds and that is HOT.  With 700 trailers many sitting on blacktop this little temporary city was pretty steamy yesterday forcing many to their interiors with air conditioning running.

I don't really like to be crazy hot and the angle of the sun meant even under our awning we couldn't escape the sun.

We had a nice simple dinner and wandered off to the opening ceremony.  Two hours later we exited to a wild wind storm, very cool temps and then some night time rain, waking up to a nice cool 68 to 70 degree day.  The sun is intermittent so I can't decide from one minute to the next if I'm hot or cold.

I'm a nester so the minute we arrive anywhere I immediately create my surroundings  I travel with two of my collection of Stuart Abelman blown glass solar lights.  A quick trip to Fred Meyers provided the plant to secure them and each night I'm treated to a light show of changing colors.

I also borrowed an idea from a neighbor and created a side panel to the awning which adds privacy, creates some shade and lends more of a room like feeling to my temporary 'veranda'  Here I've tied it back with my Kinga Nichols design flamingos that I beaded.  I mean you gotta have flamingos right?

It's the perfect day for beading and knitting and I've been doing plenty of both.  I somehow lost my mind and didn't travel with enough bead thread (I use 6 lb smoke fireline that is used for fishing but the nearest Cabela's 32 miles away didn't have any in stock).  Through the miracle of modern technology and the wonderful organizational skills of the WBCCI I was able to order it from Amazon and have it delivered to the mail service on site.

My immediate neighbor in our temporary village here is also a beader.  She's done a lot of crochet and stringing while I do mostly bead weaving.  We've had a delightful time sharing the love of beads and tomorrow night we'll head off to join the Portland bead societies meeting.

Here's a photo out my door which gives you an idea just how close the quarters are here!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

International airstream rally - Salem Oregon

We arrived!

We left Jackson Rancheria Wednesday morning headed for Red Bluff California and the Durango RV park.  Large beautiful sites some with a river view.  It was pretty and peaceful. We elected to stay hitched and eat in.  I did a bit of beading and generally relaxed.

The Sacramento river had a huge current and the  sound of water was soothing.

We got a mid morning start and arrived at the KOA Grants Pass where we pot lucked with the other caravan members.  It seemed my potluck skills which are minimal at best were severely challenged.  I decided on salmon salad since I had lots of it in the freezer.  Capers were a flavor ingredient, but were nowhere to be found.  A quick check suggested fresh dill....nope, no fresh dill either.  Also suggested was mixing plain yogurt with mayonnaise which sounded like a good idea so I scoured for plain yogurt which is not an easy find these days, but I found one or so I thought.  Mixed up the dressing and decided to taste before mixing it with a 1lb or more of salmon.  Thank goodness, it was awful.  The container revealed the reason, I had gotten vanilla by accident.  Fortunately I had enough ingredients to remake with without yogurt and in the end it was nice dish, but potlucks stress me out! I am no culinary queen for sure.

Our next days travel was to arranged for meeting in a Walmart parking lot near to the fairgrounds where the event was being held. I can say it makes quite a scene when 20 or so airstreams are parked in a Walmart parking lot. We all arrived at various times and then at our scheduled time we caravanned over to the 'bullpen' where you wait to be parked.  It's quite the organizational feat for them to park over 700 trailers and arrange water and electricity for most of them.

I am a fan of the airstream 'on the road' photos and wanted one of our airstream so I enlisted any members of the caravan who happened to be behind us to take some.  A huge thanks to Ruth and Paul who obliged us with some great photos!

This is the arrival at the bullpen, we're on the right. We are definitely in the minority pulling with an SUV but it works for us.

The official  opening ceremony is tonight and then there will be lots of different seminars and programs.  Mostly though I am eating well, visiting with friends, beading and knitting.  There is one building dedicated to hanging to and doing needlework which I will visit and there are some art classes offered on various days.  I think I will sign up for Tuesday Raku class.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A pretty Day in Sutter Creek

Two full days in one place which is a luxury when you're in 'get there' mode.  Yesterday we went off to the close by town of Sutter Creek.  It was a Monday so not all the restaurants, tasting rooms and shops were open and those that were open were being impacted by some serious street construction making a one way road right through the middle of town!

Having said that there were some nice shops there and it was also fun looking at the real estate which has kind of an East Coast vibe.  Sadly I didn't take any house photos.

The first three photos are of an antique garden shop which was nicely curated and very organic.

Again given it was Monday our restaurant choices were limited but the hotel Sutter had nice ambiance and served a good salad.

I stopped into the FineEye gallery and was impressed with their selection of art.  After seeing these whimsical birds around for many years I decided to choose from their large selection and bring one home to entertain me in the airstream.  They are made by Jim and Tori Mullan and are called Songbird Sculptures.  I am smitten with mine.

Color!  The airstream is a neutral palette and so I was craving some color!  These dish towels fit the bill!

After returning from our putting we were joined by four others in our caravan who are headed to Salem.   We spent a lovely evening being social with new friends.

Tomorrow we'll caravan to Durango resort in Red Bluff.  Always fun to see new places, but I must say I've loved our time here and will definitely return.