Thursday, May 31, 2018

Japanese Garden: yes it was this GREEN!

Once again I am unable to come up with words that can fairly describe the beauty of where we went Tuesday, the Japanese Garden in Washington Park, Portland.

Every view, every step, every shift of focus revealed a wealth of color, texture, and shape.

Rocks and water features combined and complemented each other.

Pathways directed your feet at the same time they captured your eye with gentle smoothness, or your imagination with puzzle-like complexity. 

Towering trees shaded tiny moss below.

Just when you began to feel the master gardeners hand in every thing, and the careful placement of every plant, a family of ducks swam by.   

The Koi were also fun to see.

Finally, the display of Bonsai were quite intriguing. These were both hundreds of years old.

One wonders if they have belonged to families of master gardeners, or were bought and sold over the years.

For anyone traveling through Portland, this garden is a must-see.

Monday, May 28, 2018


 All images in this post were taken at the International Rose Test Garden, in Portland Oregon.

 No words needed.
I could have posted a dozen more! 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Thoughts about kitchen size, and A Good Hike!

Not all of the time, in the life of a full time RVer, is full of fun and adventure.  Some is taken up with the mundane tasks like doing the wash, cooking, and washing the dishes. 

But for some reason it is so much easier on the road. 

When I started my married life I cooked in a tiny apartment kitchen. Over the years the houses got bigger and so did my work space. Now I'm back to tiny again, and I love it!

Thursday was our last day in the Florence, Oregon area. I did a little research on the web and decided the China Creek Trail Loop  and Hobbit Trail, which included forest, beach and dunes, looked good.

We parked at the trailhead pull off on highway 101 and immediately set off into a beautiful forest on a nice smooth path. 

Walking through a Northwest rain forest makes me think of dinosaurs, even though I know there were no trees or grasses quite like these at the time.  But it does feel like a different world. So lush.

Wherever there was sunshine, there were flowers.

 Most of the flowers were quite tiny. 

These little pink bell-like blooms were everywhere.

After a couple of miles of forest, the path went through the Washburne State Park campground and then went under highway 101. As we approached the beach area the trees became so dense that a tunnel had been cut through them!   

After walking a little over two miles, we came to the Washburne Beach.

The day was cloudy, and the water looked cold and rough.

But the damp sand made for a great hiking surface. Dry sand is hard to walk on. I didn't like the beaches in Florida very much because they were slanty, and after a short distance my back hurt from walking.  After walking on this one, I am looking forward to more wide, flat Oregon beaches. 

As we walked, we noticed the high, rough sand cliffs. We knew we would be going up that way, and had heard that our exit route from the beach was "a bit of a climb."  I didn't say anything, but was a bit worried.

Finally, about two miles down the beach we saw what we were looking for. The yellow "93" that marked the entrance to the Hobbit Trail that would take us back to where we had parked. I was getting a bit tired.

The beach end of the Hobbit Trail seemed to be carved through and up the sand cliff. People had left numerous shells along the edge. The crab above was not alive, but was fresh. (He still had eyes)

The half mile trail meandered through some pretty interesting trees. These curvy trunks were the subject of an information sign telling us they where shaped by the winds and weather. They felt like they belonged on something called the Hobbit Trail!


Not everything about this place felt friendly. The many roots in the path were a hazard to avoid. That one across the path at the top of this picture looked like it was waiting to trip anyone not paying attention.

Then, once again, we saw the best sight of the day: our faithful little Jeep waiting in the parking lot, ready to take us home. 

4.6 miles is a good walk for us old people! But if we can keep doing this, we may be able to go farther and onto harder terrain.

We have entered in a lottery for a hiking permit for "The Wave". 
If we get it, we will really need to work on our conditioning over summer.  I will know after June 1, if we get one, and will write about it then.

Check back to find out.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sea Lion Cave and lunch at Mo's

On Monday we played tourist by going over to the Sea Lion Caves. It is a commercial attraction with a $13 admission fee. Quite honestly, I was not impressed, but the fact that you got to take an elevator down to an observation area was probably worth the fee. It would have been a very long stairway, and the views were breathtaking.

There was a pretty nice bronze sculpture that kids could climb on.

From there we walked down a steep paved path to a room created in the upper level of the cave. 

From there we were able to overlook the ocean entrance of the cave and the rocks where the sea lions gather and rest when they are there.

Note: I took the color saturation of this image way down because it had odd purple and green reflections. This has happened before in cave pictures and I don't understand it.

We had been told the sea lions would not be in the cave when we bought our tickets, but that we could see them in the rookery from one of the outdoor observation platforms. 
At this level there was also an informative six minute movie about the cave, and a pass through to a place where you could see the beach to the North and the Heceta Lighthouse on the cliff.

This image was taken with my full zoom capacity. Craig says it looks like something one might use as a Christmas miniature.

We went back through the cave and up to the observation area. From there we walked down another paved path to an overlook from which we could see the sea lions on the rocks below.

There were a couple of large bulls and many cows, but we could not make out any pups.

In the quieter water a short distance from the rocks we saw a group of sea lions swimming together in a group. Some seemed to be just floating.  I had never seen such a gathering before. Were these animals that were kicked off the rocks?

We have seen many seals and sea lions on docks on the California coast, and on the rocks when we were on our wildlife tour boat ride in Alaska. It is always a treat to see animals in the wild.

Old Town Florence consists of several blocks of spiffy older buildings that house the usual collection of galleries, gift shops and restaurants. On Tuesday we went for a morning walk there.

Early in the season I enjoy browsing through the shops to see what is new. I know I'm going to see the same things at shop after shop in every coast town. The Galleries often offer unique work from individual artists, but it is mostly production work aimed at the tourist market. I still enjoy looking, and I often see some really nice things. I particularly like the glass pieces, because even if they are production work, each is also individually unique.

Siuslaw River Bridge:

Craig was intrigued by the bridge, and went off to take some pictures of it while I looked through the shops.

It was designed by Conde McCulloch, and opened in 1936.

The tide was out and the rotted supports of the old pier and dock were visible. At least that is what I assume these water worn poles were.

After our walkabout, we went to have lunch at Mo's Chowder House on the dock.

It was as good as we had been told. Craig had the Cod "Fish and Chips" and I had the Halibut. The Cod was very good, and the Halibut was even better. We both had a cup of New England Style Chowder that was just perfect in taste and creamyness. We would have loved to have tasted the Marionberry cobbler, but were both stuffed!  Great lunch for $37 (including tip). 

Our next stop was the Florence Pioneer Museum. Well worth the modest entry fee ($4 each, cash only). 

I am currently reading books by Jane Kirpatrick. She wrote 26 or more novels based on real women of the pioneer times of Oregon. They are novels, and are "good reads." I found my first one at the High Desert Museum in Bend, OR, and have gotten a couple more for free through our Amazon Kindle account. 

The Pioneer Museum is very well done. The displays are clean and comprehensive and all objects are clearly marked with the names of the local donors. It was a nice enhancement to the history I am reading.

It seems that every museum with exhibits from the 1800s has at least one of these clocks.  

I always notice them because a similiar clock is part of the very small number of items that I have from my own family.

My mother was not a keeper or collector! Neither am I, but I rescued our family's clock like this from a basement storage room when I was in my 20's. It was in pieces and the case had been painted. I restored the wood and eventually had a good clock maker fix it. It is well over 100 years old and now sits on a table in my daughter's home.  It is fun to see its sister clocks show up time after time in museums from coast to coast and even up in Canada.

Not all of the exhibits were from the pioneering days. This collection of spices and seasonings resembles those in a kitchen of the 50s. I recognized some of the brands, and in fact a fresh can of Colman's Mustard is still in my pantry. 

Remember the Green Stamp books?  

History is a continuum.  I am glad we live now and not 1818!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Florence Rhododendron Festival Parade

One way to appreciate the local atmosphere of a town, is to go to the parade associated with their annual festival. For some it is the Fourth of July, but for Florence Oregon it is their annual Rhododendron Festival.

We felt a great deal of enthusiasm from the large groups of people who lined many blocks along the parade route with folding chairs. Families seemed to be having a fine time as they waited in the slightly chilly breeze.

I can't think of a better vehicle to symbolize the coast than a lumber truck with huge logs aboard. 

Lumber has been king, but logging has changed much like the coal mines. Many good-paying jobs that once were plentiful are now gone. The many small towns need to reinvent themselves. Florence seems to be faring pretty well.

Below are a few of the vehicles in the parade:

Stick a flower on it and it becomes a float!

Of course there were several school marching bands, veterans, service organizations, old cars, polititians, fire engines, motorcycles, clowns, Shireners in little cars, and my favorite, horses! 

After the parade we walked over to the Event Center where we had parked, and went in to see the flower show. The  Rhododendrons  were displayed by color and type.

These blooms were not only quite large, but perfect in color and condition.

If I had to choose one cluster of blooms as my favorite, this would be it.  

We had intended to go over to see the vendor area, but were discouraged by the lack of parking. I participated in so many outdoor art and craft shows in my days, I did not mind skipping walking through this one.

Before we leave Florence, we do plan on going into the Old Town area for a leisurely stroll and lunch. Craig has his eye on Mo's Chowder House.

Stay tuned ...