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Life In The Slow Lane With Eric & Laurel

~Because it’s all about the journey~

Lighthouses And Tidepools: Newport, OR

Lighthouses And Tidepools: Newport, OR

Posted by on Jun 1, 2017 in Birding, Gallery, Oregon | 24 comments

We couldn’t have asked for a better reentry into our fulltime travels. Any doubts I had about taking to the road again were swept aside by the perfect weather and the charms of Newport, our first destination on our tour of the central and north Oregon Coast.

We stayed in Newport a couple of years ago in December and despite the cold, gray, soggy weather, thoroughly enjoyed our visit. But it was even better this time, with plenty of sunshine and delightful temperatures in late May. Weatherwise, the Oregon Coast is always a crapshoot. But lucky us, the rhododendrons were in full glory, the birds at the aquarium in fancy breeding plumage, and we even scored a tour at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, although it isn’t supposed to be open until July. I think we’re back in the groove. It’s a good thing, because seriously, we don’t need any more bumps in the road right now.

We stayed five nights at South Beach State Park, the perfect location for setting up camp to explore Newport. The sites are spacious and wooded, with paths leading over the dunes to the beach. More trails wind above the campground through a forest of wild rhododendrons, and yet more lead to the jetty, with a wonderful view of the historic Yaquina Bay Bridge, an Art Deco/Gothic beauty.

Highlights of our visit to Newport:

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area: With a treacherous but beautiful beach, mesmerizing tidepools, nesting seabirds, a wonderful interpretive center (with a resident nesting pair of Peregrine Falcons), hiking trails, spectacular views, and the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, Yaquina Head Outstanding Area truly is outstanding.

Formed from an ancient lava flow, the headland extends one mile out into the open ocean. Below, Cobble Beach—composed entirely of smooth rounded kiwi-sized black rocks—wins the prize as the most slippery, ankle-twisting beach I’ve ever seen. But it’s worth traversing to get to the prize of some of the best tidepools on the Oregon Coast.

At low tide, the pools are filled with thousands of brilliant purple sea urchins, delicate jade green anemones, and at least a few ochre sea stars. We’re happy to see the sea stars making a comeback (albeit slowly) after almost being extirpated along the entire West Coast by a virus several years ago.

The Lighthouses: Newport boasts not one but two lighthouses, and both are well worth visiting. Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, the only remaining wooden lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, was constructed in 1871 but decommissioned after only three years. Someone apparently made a big boo-boo, built the lighthouse too far inland, and ships couldn’t see the light. It’s a cute little lighthouse, and fully furnished in period décor. (We toured it on our last visit to Newport; you can see photos of it here.)

Yaquina Head Lighthouse was built to replace little Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. This time, the builders got it right. Stuck way out on the tip of Yaquina Head, the lighthouse is an imposing 93 feet tall, the tallest in Oregon. We enjoyed a delightful tour with a ranger in costume, who regaled us with tales of a lighthouse keeper’s life and duties. (Hauling heavy buckets of lard up the 114 winding stairs to keep the light burning was one of the many chores.) Although the lighthouse was automated in 1966, the original beautiful Paris-made Fresnel lens is still in use, casting a beam of light 20 miles out to sea.

Oregon Coast Aquarium: We love this little aquarium. Many of the exhibits at the Oregon Coast Aquarium are outdoors, and we had a blast watching the antics of the sea otters being fed and the sea birds going about their daily lives in the wonderful sea bird aviary. Here’s my take-away fact from our visit: Puffins, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets and Pigeon Guillemots are all members of the same family. They share in common the ability to “fly” underwater—we watched their undersea acrobatics through submerged viewing windows, and they do look like they’re flying.

The walk-through fish tanks are fascinating, and it appeared as though some of the fish were having just as much fun watching us as we were watching them. The sharks and the rays, they didn’t pay us any mind. But the Pacific Rockfish—there were a few of those guys doing their best to telepathically communicate with us. (Eric always tells me not to anthropomorphize, but I continue to ignore him.)

Bonus tip: The Hatfield Marine Science Center is just across the street from the aquarium, and is well worth a visit. We stopped in last year, but lingered so long at the aquarium this time that we missed our opportunity for a return visit. Part of Oregon State University, their focus is on sustainability, and as they say, “hot topics in contemporary marine science research.” It’s a cool place.

The Waterfront: Newport has managed to remain a working waterfront, while adding some amenities for visitors (not just junky t-shirt shops). We wandered the docks, checking out the various trawlers, crabbers, and shrimpers. There’s great seafood to be found here—last time, we enjoyed a delicious meal at Saffron Salmon. This time, we chose to dine at Local Ocean Dockside Grill and had perfectly prepared fresh caught salmon while perusing the activity of the busy little harbor from our window table. The seafood market downstairs is excellent, too, with every catch labeled with the boat that brought in the haul.

About the campground: South Beach Campground is just a few miles from Newport. Even if you didn’t leave the campground, you would have plenty to do exploring the beach and hiking trails within the park. (Really, though, you don’t want to miss Yaquina Head and the aquarium.) Water and electric hookups, good Verizon, and it’s remarkably peaceful, given that this is such a popular campground. Make your reservations early if you plan to be here between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse From The Tidepools

Yaquina Bay Bridge

Walkway To Cobblestone Beach

Happy Tidepooler

Ochre Sea Star

Purple Sea Urchins

Giant Green Anemone

Harbor Seals

Yaquina Head Lighthouse From Salal Hill

Yaquina Head Interpretive Center

Inside The Interpretive Center

The Lighthouse, Circa Late 1800's

Peregrine Falcon Near The Visitor Center

Yaquina Head Lighthouse In Spring

Wonderful Interpretive Tour Of The Lighthouse

Library In A Box Delivered By Tenders

114 Steep Winding Stairs

Memorial To Pacific Northwest Fishermen

Beautiful Original Fresnel Lens, In Service 1873

At The Oregon Coast Aquarium

Many Exhibits Are Outdoors

Rhinocerous Auklets In Full Regalia

A Pair Of Tufted Puffins

Nesting Tufted Puffin

"Fish Again?" Asks The Horned Puffin

Under The Sea

Pacific Rockfish Trying To Tell Us Something

I See You Talking To That Fish

Pacific Sea Nettles

Irresistible Touch Tank

He Likes His Crab Dinner

Newport Bay Waterfront

Historic Boat And Historic Bridge

The Lady Washington Historic Tall Ship

Old Wooden Fishing Boats In The Harbor

Sea Lions On The Jetty

Fresh Salmon At Local Ocean Seafoods

Beautiful South Beach Campground

Hiking In A Forest Of Rhododendrons

Windblown On The Beach

Yaquina Head Lighthouse From The Tidepools
Yaquina Bay Bridge
Walkway To Cobblestone Beach
Happy Tidepooler
Ochre Sea Star
Purple Sea Urchins
Giant Green Anemone
Harbor Seals
Yaquina Head Lighthouse From Salal Hill
Yaquina Head Interpretive Center
Inside The Interpretive Center
The Lighthouse, Circa Late 1800's
Peregrine Falcon Near The Visitor Center
Yaquina Head Lighthouse In Spring
Wonderful Interpretive Tour Of The Lighthouse
Library In A Box Delivered By Tenders
114 Steep Winding Stairs
Memorial To Pacific Northwest Fishermen
Beautiful Original Fresnel Lens, In Service 1873
At The Oregon Coast Aquarium
Many Exhibits Are Outdoors
Rhinocerous Auklets In Full Regalia
A Pair Of Tufted Puffins
Nesting Tufted Puffin
Under The Sea
Pacific Rockfish Trying To Tell Us Something
I See You Talking To That Fish
Pacific Sea Nettles
Irresistible Touch Tank
He Likes His Crab Dinner
Newport Bay Waterfront
Historic Boat And Historic Bridge
The Lady Washington Historic Tall Ship
Old Wooden Fishing Boats In The Harbor
Sea Lions On The Jetty
Fresh Salmon At Local Ocean Seafoods
Beautiful South Beach Campground
Hiking In A Forest Of Rhododendrons
Windblown On The Beach
Yaquina Head Lighthouse From The Tidepools thumbnail
Yaquina Bay Bridge thumbnail
Walkway To Cobblestone Beach thumbnail
Happy Tidepooler thumbnail
Ochre Sea Star thumbnail
Purple Sea Urchins thumbnail
Giant Green Anemone thumbnail
Harbor Seals thumbnail
Yaquina Head Lighthouse From Salal Hill thumbnail
Yaquina Head Interpretive Center thumbnail
Inside The Interpretive Center thumbnail
The Lighthouse, Circa Late 1800's thumbnail
Peregrine Falcon Near The Visitor Center thumbnail
Yaquina Head Lighthouse In Spring thumbnail
Wonderful Interpretive Tour Of The Lighthouse thumbnail
Library In A Box Delivered By Tenders thumbnail
114 Steep Winding Stairs thumbnail
Memorial To Pacific Northwest Fishermen thumbnail
Beautiful Original Fresnel Lens, In Service 1873 thumbnail
At The Oregon Coast Aquarium thumbnail
Many Exhibits Are Outdoors thumbnail
Rhinocerous Auklets In Full Regalia thumbnail
A Pair Of Tufted Puffins thumbnail
Nesting Tufted Puffin thumbnail
Under The Sea thumbnail
Pacific Rockfish Trying To Tell Us Something thumbnail
I See You Talking To That Fish thumbnail
Pacific Sea Nettles thumbnail
Irresistible Touch Tank thumbnail
He Likes His Crab Dinner thumbnail
Newport Bay Waterfront thumbnail
Historic Boat And Historic Bridge thumbnail
The Lady Washington Historic Tall Ship thumbnail
Old Wooden Fishing Boats In The Harbor thumbnail
Sea Lions On The Jetty thumbnail
Fresh Salmon At Local Ocean Seafoods thumbnail
Beautiful South Beach Campground thumbnail
Hiking In A Forest Of Rhododendrons thumbnail
Windblown On The Beach thumbnail

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The Long Road Back

The Long Road Back

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Friends, Gallery, Hiking, Musings, Oregon | 51 comments

As of Saturday, we’re on the road again. YAY!!! To be perfectly honest, that’s “yay” with some sadness and regret at leaving our beautiful hometown and our wonderful community of friends in Ashland. Leaving this time, after seven months, was almost as difficult as the first time we pulled out of town four years ago to embark on our full time journey.

As I’ve said before, we would never have signed up for this particular adventure. Open-heart surgery is no walk in the park. But after many months of cardiac rehab and daily long walks, Eric is back to his normal, active, healthy self. I look at photos from early December when he was in the hospital, and then look at photos from the hike we did yesterday on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Grateful and lucky, that’s what we are.

We couldn’t have done this without our friends and family. Or we wouldn’t have wanted to. Not only did they support us during the first weeks of Eric’s surgery and recovery, but when the crisis passed, we started having fun times together, just like always. That helped with our healing, as much as anything.

It has been a rich and full seven months. Playing music, creating art, dinner parties, hikes, wine tasting, film festivals, plays…it has been wonderful. I often reflect on how fortunate we are to have friends with whom we can share the highs and the lows of life. However, I will repeat here what I have told all of our friends: Eric took this one for the team. No one else needs to undergo this particular experience.

Our last two weeks in Ashland, we moved over to Emigrant Lake County Park. At a mere two miles from Ted and Kath’s beautiful farmstead, it was the perfect place for us to regroup and ease back into traveling mode. It was a bit anxiety provoking, that first hitching up and moving after almost seven months of sitting still. When I asked Eric how he felt about it, he said, “Well, I’ve done this a few times before.” I love how he takes things in stride.

Our last several days at Emigrant Lake, we were joined by Bill, Jodee, and Tessa, fellow full time travelers we first met up with in the Sierra Nevada a couple of years ago. We had a delightful time together, sharing breakfast on the plaza, walks in the park, and a picnic in our favorite spot by the creek. It was good for us to reconnect with friends we’ve met on the road. We’re looking forward to catching up with them again later this summer.

P.S. Just as we’ve fledged, so have the little Rock Wren nestlings that we rescued three weeks ago. All four were successfully released back at Emigrant Lake yesterday. You can read more about it on Badger Run’s website here.

See you down the road!

Next up: Tidepools and Lighthouses: Newport, OR

Back On The Road, Newport, OR

Words To Live By, Downtown Ashland

December 05, 2016

Our Home In Ashland For Seven Months

Sunrise Over The Pond

Amanda And Findlay Came To Be With Us

Fall Harvest, Ted And Katherine

Brunch With Winn

Keep Calm, Indeed

Tea With Ann And Jake

Dinner With Leslie, John, Steve, And Lindi

A Cozy Evening With Cynthia And Kyle

Us, Steve, Linda, Diana, John, Judy, & John

A Garden Party At Diana And John's

Grilling Oregon Oysters

So Delicious!

Sunday Music: Lydia, Joe, Cynthia, Karen, And Kyle

Lydia (Banjo Babe) And Laurel

Another Fun Sunday Gathering

Thursdays At Kindred Spirits Wine Bar

Friday Art Days With Diana

Cocktails With Steve And Leslie

Morning Coffee With Barbara

Alfresco Lunch With Kath And Ted

Morning Bird Walk With Janet

Happy Hour With Chris And Lila

In Lithia Park With Jodee, Bill And Tessa

Beautiful Site At Emigrant Lake

Owlet At Emigrant Lake

Rock Wrens Growing Up

Back On The Road, Newport, OR
Words To Live By, Downtown Ashland
December 05, 2016
Our Home In Ashland For Seven Months
Sunrise Over The Pond
Amanda And Findlay Came To Be With Us
Fall Harvest, Ted And Katherine
Brunch With Winn
Keep Calm, Indeed
Tea With Ann And Jake
Dinner With Leslie, John, Steve, And Lindi
A Cozy Evening With Cynthia And Kyle
Us, Steve, Linda, Diana, John, Judy, & John
A Garden Party At Diana And John's
Grilling Oregon Oysters
So Delicious!
Sunday Music: Lydia, Joe, Cynthia, Karen, And Kyle
Lydia (Banjo Babe) And Laurel
Another Fun Sunday Gathering
Thursdays At Kindred Spirits Wine Bar
Friday Art Days With Diana
Cocktails With Steve And Leslie
Morning Coffee With Barbara
Alfresco Lunch With Kath And Ted
Morning Bird Walk With Janet
Happy Hour With Chris And Lila
In Lithia Park With Jodee, Bill And Tessa
Beautiful Site At Emigrant Lake
Owlet At Emigrant Lake
Rock Wrens Growing Up
Back On The Road, Newport, OR thumbnail
Words To Live By, Downtown Ashland thumbnail
December 05, 2016 thumbnail
Our Home In Ashland For Seven Months thumbnail
Sunrise Over The Pond thumbnail
Amanda And Findlay Came To Be With Us thumbnail
Fall Harvest, Ted And Katherine thumbnail
Brunch With Winn thumbnail
Keep Calm, Indeed thumbnail
Tea With Ann And Jake thumbnail
Dinner With Leslie, John, Steve, And Lindi thumbnail
A Cozy Evening With Cynthia And Kyle thumbnail
Us, Steve, Linda, Diana, John, Judy, & John thumbnail
A Garden Party At Diana And John's thumbnail
Grilling Oregon Oysters thumbnail
So Delicious! thumbnail
Sunday Music: Lydia, Joe, Cynthia, Karen, And Kyle thumbnail
Lydia (Banjo Babe) And Laurel thumbnail
Another Fun Sunday Gathering thumbnail
Thursdays At Kindred Spirits Wine Bar thumbnail
Friday Art Days With Diana thumbnail
Cocktails With Steve And Leslie thumbnail
Morning Coffee With Barbara thumbnail
Alfresco Lunch With Kath And Ted thumbnail
Morning Bird Walk With Janet thumbnail
Happy Hour With Chris And Lila thumbnail
In Lithia Park With Jodee, Bill And Tessa thumbnail
Beautiful Site At Emigrant Lake thumbnail
Owlet At Emigrant Lake thumbnail
Rock Wrens Growing Up thumbnail

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A Hike In The Enchanted Forest

A Hike In The Enchanted Forest

Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Friends, Gallery, Hiking, Oregon | 26 comments

With winter finally letting go and Eric back in hiking form, we’ve been venturing out from our daily long walks around Emigrant Lake to hit the local trails. Southern Oregon has a plethora of hiking options, from a network of trails in town to mountain treks that connect to the famed Pacific Crest trail.

This time of year, a lot of the higher elevation hikes are still deep in snow. After a longer, snowier winter than we’re accustomed to, we’re more interested in hikes where we can enjoy spring wildflowers. And oh boy, has this ever been a year for wildflowers.

It surprises me that after all our years exploring southern Oregon, there are still new hikes to be found. Last fall, we heard tales of the Enchanted Forest Trail from friends who had discovered it the previous year. As soon as the weather warmed enough for the flowers to emerge, we set out with said friends and long-time hiking buddies Linda, Steve, Judy, and John, to see what we could find.

It was all we had hoped for, and more. As we wound our way through stands of gnarled oaks and madrone, we came upon wave after wave of magenta shooting stars, pure white trillium, cobalt blue hound’s tongue, and clutches of delicate lavender fawn lilies. We often see these ephemeral flowers in early spring, but rarely in such abundance. Enchanted forest, indeed.

(To reach the trail, head west from Jacksonville on Highway 238 for 15 miles. Turn right on North Applegate Road then continue about 4-1/2 miles, then go briefly right on Kubli Road for about 200 yards before turning onto Slagle Creek Road. The paved road ends in about 1-1/2 miles where the trailhead begins. More excellent trails near Ashland where you can be assured of finding wildflowers in season include the Jacksonville Woodlands Trails and Upper and Lower Table Rocks.)

Fields Of Shooting Stars

Good Buddies On The Trail

Ready For The Enchanted Forest

Shooting Stars

Thickets Of Trillium

A Trail Through Ancient Oaks

Henderson's Fawn Lilies

The Jacksonville Woodland Trails

Peaceful And Beautiful Trails In Town

You Have To Leave Your Elephant At Home

The Rare Gentner's Fritillary

Not Rare But Beautiful Mission Bells

On The Trail To Upper Table Rocks

Tolmie's Pussy Ears

On Top Of Table Rocks

The View From Table Rocks

Mt. McLoughlin In The Distance

Fields Of Shooting Stars
Good Buddies On The Trail
Ready For The Enchanted Forest
Shooting Stars
Thickets Of Trillium
A Trail Through Ancient Oaks
Henderson's Fawn Lilies
The Jacksonville Woodland Trails
Peaceful And Beautiful Trails In Town
You Have To Leave Your Elephant At Home
The Rare Gentner's Fritillary
Not Rare But Beautiful Mission Bells
On The Trail To Upper Table Rocks
Tolmie's Pussy Ears
On Top Of Table Rocks
The View From Table Rocks
Mt. McLoughlin In The Distance
Fields Of Shooting Stars thumbnail
Good Buddies On The Trail thumbnail
Ready For The Enchanted Forest thumbnail
Shooting Stars thumbnail
Thickets Of Trillium thumbnail
A Trail Through Ancient Oaks thumbnail
Henderson's Fawn Lilies thumbnail
The Jacksonville Woodland Trails thumbnail
Peaceful And Beautiful Trails In Town thumbnail
You Have To Leave Your Elephant At Home thumbnail
The Rare Gentner's Fritillary thumbnail
Not Rare But Beautiful Mission Bells thumbnail
On The Trail To Upper Table Rocks thumbnail
Tolmie's Pussy Ears thumbnail
On Top Of Table Rocks thumbnail
The View From Table Rocks thumbnail
Mt. McLoughlin In The Distance thumbnail

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Birds In The ‘Hood…And A Rock Wren Rescue

Birds In The ‘Hood…And A Rock Wren Rescue

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Birding, Gallery, Oregon | 42 comments

It’s always exciting in our cross-country travels to encounter birds that we don’t usually see. But it’s also rewarding to make friends with the birds in our own backyard, and to have the opportunity to observe them as they go about their daily lives.

The birdlife is abundant and diverse in our little corner of the world. Although we haven’t moved our trailer for almost seven months, we haven’t lacked for bird sightings. Every morning, a White-breasted Nuthatch forages in the cedar outside our dining room window. Black-capped Chickadees, Scrub Jays, Stellar’s Jays, and Oak Titmice are regular visitors to nearby feeders, and families of California Quail patrol the grounds, zooming by like wind-up toys.

A serene pond just steps from our trailer shelters geese, ducks, blackbirds, and the occasional heron, even throughout the snowy winter. Come spring, the geese and blackbirds build nests. This year, we’ve been watching the Wood Duck nest box, hoping there will soon be babies.

At Emigrant Lake, just down the road, a large and varied population of woodpeckers fly among the gnarled oaks, entertaining us with their raucous calls on our daily long walks. Bluebirds flash by in a streak of sapphire, and brilliant yellow goldfinches appear in vast flocks, singing their little hearts out. Bald Eagles and Osprey dive for fish, while Red-tailed Hawks soar overhead. Recently, we came upon a fierce, fluffy owlet—and spotted the Great Horned Owl parent in a nearby tree.

It all delights us. But by far, our most extraordinary bird experience this year involved a family of Rock Wrens. Colored pale gray and brown, the diminutive songbirds blend perfectly with their favorite environment of arid, rocky canyons. We’ve spotted a few on our walks around Emigrant Lake, where they hang out on the rocky, boulder-strewn shores, making themselves known by their buzzy trills and comical bouncing movements.

Usually, Rock Wrens nest in rock crevices, hidden from sight. But just a few weeks ago, we discovered a pair of wrens nesting in a most unusual place. Several mornings in a row, we noticed wrens flying in and out of a steel pipe that serves as a gated entry to the lake. When we peered into the pipe, a pile of tiny stones marked the entrance. Rock Wrens have the unique habit of building “walkways” for their nests, and this was a telltale sign that the wrens had chosen the pipe for nesting.

Each morning, we looked forward to visiting the wrens. A couple of weeks passed, and we observed the pair busily foraging and carrying a variety of insects and spiders into the pipe. One day, Eric photographed a wren bringing a small lizard to the nest—our ornithologist friends told us this is highly unusual behavior, and something that had never before been recorded.

We surmised that the eggs had hatched, and were looking forward to seeing the fledglings when they emerged. But late one afternoon last week, Eric rode his bike to the lake to check on the wrens, and sent me a heartbreaking text—“The wren parents were killed today.” Both had been hit by cars while foraging for food along the roadside.

Neither of us could bear the thought of the nestlings starving to death while waiting in vain for their parents to deliver food. Even though we knew there was a slim chance for success, we decided to try to save them.

Equipped with a small cardboard box lined with paper towels and a jar of live bugs, we set out on our rescue mission. As we approached the pipe, we could hear the nestlings calling for their parents. The babies were more than a foot deep into the pipe, and although I was voting for Eric to stick his hand in the pipe, mine was the one that fit. I wedged my hand into the pipe halfway to my elbow, groped around, and one by one, gently dragged the nestlings out. Once secure in their temporary cardboard box nest, Eric fed the hungry babies the bugs he had captured.

We’re not experts in wild bird care, so we turned the wren babies over to Badger Run, a wonderful wildlife rehab center in Klamath Falls. The people there are extraordinarily dedicated, skilled, and compassionate. (And they can use all the help they can get—with no funding from state or federal agencies, they rely on donations and volunteer efforts.) Liz, one of the founding members of Badger Run, has been taking the wren babies along to her “day job” as an insurance agent, because they must be fed every 15 minutes.

As of today, one week after their rescue, the nestlings are thriving. In just a few weeks, they’ll be returned to Emigrant Lake, where they’ll be released back into their home territory. We’re sad that we won’t be here to see them take flight, but we’re preparing to take flight ourselves as we resume our fulltime travels. We’re hoping next fall, if we’re lucky, we’ll see the wrens in our walks around the lake.

Next Up: A Hike In The Enchanted Forest

An Acorn Woodpecker, Always Fun To See

Acorn Woodpecker

Lewis's Woodpecker

Red-Breasted Sapsucker

Red-Naped Sapsucker

Northern Flicker

Wood Ducks At The Pond

Canada Geese And Ring-Necked Ducks

Mama Goose And Gosling

Patrolling Our Site

The Views Are Grand

California Quail

Red Winged Blackbird

Stellar's Jay

Black-Capped Chickadee

Rufous Hummingbird

American Goldfinch

Cedar Waxwing

Bald Eagle

Killdeer

Killdeer Nest

Common Merganser Family

American Dipper And Chick

Western Bluebird

Great Horned Owl

Cute And Fierce Owlet

Rock Wren

An Unusual Place For A Nest

Carrying A Lizard Back To The Nest

Hungry Baby Rock Wrens

Planning The Rescue Mission

Getting The Baby Rock Wrens Out

Successful Rescue!

An Acorn Woodpecker, Always Fun To See
Acorn Woodpecker
Lewis's Woodpecker
Red-Breasted Sapsucker
Red-Naped Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Wood Ducks At The Pond
Canada Geese And Ring-Necked Ducks
Mama Goose And Gosling
Patrolling Our Site
The Views Are Grand
California Quail
Red Winged Blackbird
Stellar's Jay
Black-Capped Chickadee
Rufous Hummingbird
American Goldfinch
Cedar Waxwing
Bald Eagle
Killdeer
Killdeer Nest
Common Merganser Family
American Dipper And Chick
Western Bluebird
Great Horned Owl
Cute And Fierce Owlet
Rock Wren
An Unusual Place For A Nest
Carrying A Lizard Back To The Nest
Hungry Baby Rock Wrens
Planning The Rescue Mission
Getting The Baby Rock Wrens Out
Successful Rescue!
An Acorn Woodpecker, Always Fun To See thumbnail
Acorn Woodpecker thumbnail
Lewis's Woodpecker thumbnail
Red-Breasted Sapsucker thumbnail
Red-Naped Sapsucker thumbnail
Northern Flicker thumbnail
Wood Ducks At The Pond thumbnail
Canada Geese And Ring-Necked Ducks thumbnail
Mama Goose And Gosling thumbnail
Patrolling Our Site thumbnail
The Views Are Grand thumbnail
California Quail thumbnail
Red Winged Blackbird thumbnail
Stellar's Jay thumbnail
Black-Capped Chickadee thumbnail
Rufous Hummingbird thumbnail
American Goldfinch thumbnail
Cedar Waxwing thumbnail
Bald Eagle thumbnail
Killdeer thumbnail
Killdeer Nest thumbnail
Common Merganser Family thumbnail
American Dipper And Chick thumbnail
Western Bluebird thumbnail
Great Horned Owl thumbnail
Cute And Fierce Owlet thumbnail
Rock Wren thumbnail
An Unusual Place For A Nest thumbnail
Carrying A Lizard Back To The Nest thumbnail
Hungry Baby Rock Wrens thumbnail
Planning The Rescue Mission thumbnail
Getting The Baby Rock Wrens Out thumbnail
Successful Rescue! thumbnail

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A Beautiful Autumn In Ashland

A Beautiful Autumn In Ashland

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in Friends, Gallery, Hiking, Musings, Oregon | 30 comments

Autumn in our hometown of Ashland, Oregon is truly a thing of beauty. For a leisurely stretch of several weeks, the valley is painted with rich reds and golds, the weather is generally perfect, and the holiday season is ushered in with the most outrageous Halloween parade and street party imaginable.

We usually return home once a year in our travels, and stay for about a month. This year, of course, was very different with Eric’s unexpected health crisis and surgery. We arrived just in time for the fall colors, survived one of the coldest, wettest, longest winters in history, and are now enjoying the spring blossoms.

Sitting still in one place for seven months (seven months!!) was certainly not what we had planned when we started our full-time journey almost four years ago. But if we’re going to be settled down somewhere, Ashland is where we want to be. It’s been wonderful to reconnect with friends, and to even share our hometown for a few days with fellow full-time traveling buddies MonaLiza and Steve (Lowe’s Travels), who came to visit in mid-October.

It’s a bit disconcerting to realize that so many months have passed. I can’t quite tell you where all of the time has gone—but suddenly, we’re just weeks away from leaving town. It’s a strange feeling to have had something of this magnitude happen, and to have had our lives rearranged for us for such a long stretch of time. It certainly puts into perspective the illusion of control.

I’m excited about resuming our travels, and also feeling a bit tentative. Part of me wants to go, and part of me wants to stay in our beautiful hometown, surrounded by people we love, doing things we enjoy right here in our own backyard. This is a familiar internal tug-of-war. I don’t know that I’ll ever reconcile the two.

But as I think about our summer and fall plans—the Oregon Coast, Olympic Peninsula, San Juan Islands, North Cascades, and Glacier—I feel the spark of adventure rekindled within. And in my mind, I hear the words of my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, nudging me along: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and wonderful life?” For now, travel wins.

Next Up: Birds In The ‘Hood

Brilliant Fall Colors In Ashland

In The Japanese Garden

Beautiful Lithia Park

A Walk In The Park With MonaLiza And Steve

A Fun Day With Friends

Our View In The Fall

Old Farm Down The Road

A Few Of The Neighbors

Halloween In Ashland

Dia De Los Muertos Costumes

Even The Ferret Has A Costume

Double Take

Flying Dragon Baby Stroller

Not Just For Halloween

A Hike On The Rogue River

Peaceful Autumn Hike Along The Upper Rogue

The Rogue River Near Natural Bridge

A Contemplative Moment

Brilliant Fall Colors In Ashland
In The Japanese Garden
Beautiful Lithia Park
A Walk In The Park With MonaLiza And Steve
A Fun Day With Friends
Our View In The Fall
Old Farm Down The Road
A Few Of The Neighbors
Halloween In Ashland
Dia De Los Muertos Costumes
Even The Ferret Has A Costume
Double Take
Flying Dragon Baby Stroller
Not Just For Halloween
A Hike On The Rogue River
Peaceful Autumn Hike Along The Upper Rogue
The Rogue River Near Natural Bridge
A Contemplative Moment
Brilliant Fall Colors In Ashland thumbnail
In The Japanese Garden thumbnail
Beautiful Lithia Park thumbnail
A Walk In The Park With MonaLiza And Steve thumbnail
A Fun Day With Friends thumbnail
Our View In The Fall thumbnail
Old Farm Down The Road thumbnail
A Few Of The Neighbors thumbnail
Halloween In Ashland thumbnail
Dia De Los Muertos Costumes thumbnail
Even The Ferret Has A Costume thumbnail
Double Take thumbnail
Flying Dragon Baby Stroller thumbnail
Not Just For Halloween thumbnail
A Hike On The Rogue River thumbnail
Peaceful Autumn Hike Along The Upper Rogue thumbnail
The Rogue River Near Natural Bridge thumbnail
A Contemplative Moment thumbnail

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Biking, Brews, And Covered Bridges: Eugene, OR

Biking, Brews, And Covered Bridges: Eugene, OR

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in Biking, Food, Gallery, Oregon | 32 comments

At the risk of completely confusing everyone, I’m going to post a couple more “catch up” blogs from last fall, just before our travels and lives were temporarily derailed by Eric’s surgery. Next month, we’ll be back on the road. But for the sake of completion—and so that I have some hope of remembering what we’ve done before we start adding to our stash of travel memories again—let’s return to early October, and our visit to Eugene.

With abundant biking opportunities, cool neighborhood brewpubs, an epic farmers’ market, tasty local foods, and a liberal vibe, Eugene offers up our idea of fun. At only 178 miles from our hometown of Ashland, Eugene is a convenient stop for us as we travel the I-5 corridor. Even though we’ve visited many times, there’s always something new to discover, as well as “favorites” to return to.

This time, we took a little field trip 20 miles outside of town to bike the Row River Trail, which originates in Cottage Grove, the “Covered Bridge Capitol of the West.” On a pretty fall day, we biked 30 miles of the scenic trail that travels along Dorena Lake, through pastoral farmland, and past several of the historic bridges. Oregon possesses one of the largest collections of covered bridges in the country, and the most extensive collection in the West. Did you know the picturesque structures protect the timber trusses from the damp Oregon climate? (One of these days, all of these little tidbits of information are going to come in handy.)

After a long day of biking, we recovered at the award winning, eco-friendly Ninkasi Brewing Company, named for the Sumerian goddess of fermentation. Their Total Domination IPA is one of Eric’s perennial favorites, but all of their beer is tasty. The neighborhood beer garden with live music and food trucks makes for a good time hanging out with the locals. Another evening, we made our way to Sweet Cheeks Winery, about 20 miles west of town on a winding, beautiful country road. Gorgeous views, decent wine, and a beautiful patio with cozy fire pits—and they don’t mind a bit if you bring a picnic.

The Row River Trail is a good ride, but our favorite biking in Eugene remains the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System. We never tire of biking the scenic 14-miles of trails that meander along both sides of the Willamette River, with a variety of interesting diversions along the way, including the lovely University of Oregon campus, the Owens Rose Garden, and wildlife ponds.

A visit to a salad bar might not be high on your list of attractions, but we never miss stopping at Provisions Market Hall in the Fifth Street Marketplace in downtown Eugene. We often make a detour when we’re biking on the Riverbank Trail. The salad bar offerings are creative and delicious (roast chicken, marinated cauliflower, pickled red onions, French potato salad, kale salad), they have yummy homemade soups and wood fired pizza, and you can enjoy a glass of good wine with your meal at their lovely wine bar.

Although biking and eating and sampling beer and wine consumed most of our time in Eugene, we did manage to feed our minds a bit at the small but excellent University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. It’s a gem of a museum, and worth a visit just to admire the beautiful architecture and the wonderful sculptures of salmon, bear, and other Pacific Northwest critters that adorn the building.

Finally, we plan our visits to Eugene so that we can spend time at the lively Saturday Market—as the country’s longest running outdoors market, it’s been a happening event since 1970. We loaded up our shopping bags with an assortment of organic and locally produced foods, browsed the wonderful crafts (I’m always looking for travel sized treasures), listened to local music, and had fun people watching. There’s a reason Eugene was voted the “hippiest city” in the country. If you enjoy a laidback counter culture atmosphere, you’ll like Eugene. We certainly do.

About the RV Park:

We always stay at Armitage County Park, just a few miles outside of town in Coburg. The sites are spacious and green with full hook-ups, good Verizon coverage, and an excellent laundry. There’s a lovely, although rather short, walk along the river. If you plan to visit in the fall, check the University of Oregon football schedule—the campground is booked far in advance for the Duck’s home games.

Next Up: Ashland In The Fall (and then we’ll be caught up!)

Currin Bridge, circa 1925

In Cottage Grove

Sweet Little Farmstand Along The Way

On The Row River Trail

Mosey Creek Bridge, circa 1920

Fall Abundance At The Eugene Farmers' Market

Pastured Eggs At The Market

The Empathy Tent, Only In Eugene

Love The Logo For Sweet Cheeks Winery

Beautiful Afternoon At The Winery

Cool Neighborhood Microbrewery

Excellent Beer At Ninkasi

Fifth Street Market In Eugene

Delicious Lunch At Provisions

The Willamette River Bike Trail

Philosophical Truth Along The Trail

Lovely Owens Rose Garden

The Museum Of Natural And Cultural History

That Giant Sloth Was Creepy

Tribal Dress Decorated With Elk Teeth

Counterculture Immortalized: Ken Kesey Sculpture

Fall Colors In Downtown Eugene

Armitage Park In Eugene

Currin Bridge, circa 1925
In Cottage Grove
Sweet Little Farmstand Along The Way
On The Row River Trail
Mosey Creek Bridge, circa 1920
Fall Abundance At The Eugene Farmers' Market
Pastured Eggs At The Market
The Empathy Tent, Only In Eugene
Love The Logo For Sweet Cheeks Winery
Beautiful Afternoon At The Winery
Cool Neighborhood Microbrewery
Excellent Beer At Ninkasi
Fifth Street Market In Eugene
Delicious Lunch At Provisions
The Willamette River Bike Trail
Philosophical Truth Along The Trail
Lovely Owens Rose Garden
The Museum Of Natural And Cultural History
That Giant Sloth Was Creepy
Tribal Dress Decorated With Elk Teeth
Counterculture Immortalized: Ken Kesey Sculpture
Fall Colors In Downtown Eugene
Armitage Park In Eugene
Currin Bridge, circa 1925 thumbnail
In Cottage Grove thumbnail
Sweet Little Farmstand Along The Way thumbnail
On The Row River Trail thumbnail
Mosey Creek Bridge, circa 1920 thumbnail
Fall Abundance At The Eugene Farmers' Market thumbnail
Pastured Eggs At The Market thumbnail
The Empathy Tent, Only In Eugene thumbnail
Love The Logo For Sweet Cheeks Winery thumbnail
Beautiful Afternoon At The Winery thumbnail
Cool Neighborhood Microbrewery thumbnail
Excellent Beer At Ninkasi thumbnail
Fifth Street Market In Eugene thumbnail
Delicious Lunch At Provisions thumbnail
The Willamette River Bike Trail thumbnail
Philosophical Truth Along The Trail thumbnail
Lovely Owens Rose Garden thumbnail
The Museum Of Natural And Cultural History thumbnail
That Giant Sloth Was Creepy thumbnail
Tribal Dress Decorated With Elk Teeth thumbnail
Counterculture Immortalized: Ken Kesey Sculpture thumbnail
Fall Colors In Downtown Eugene thumbnail
Armitage Park In Eugene thumbnail

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