Happy Birthday to me…and somber news

I woke up to a beautiful birthday morning on the desert.

We said goodbye to the Alvord Desert and headed to Fields, Denio, Highway 140 and Medford.

My mother-in-law and I share a birthday. Bill and I balanced our wish for an unhurried day with some time to explore with our wish to share a birthday dinner in Medford.

We enjoyed driving by a flying saucer on 140, the Sheldon National Antelope Refuge, and the opal mines beyond the refuge headquarters. Nothing was open, which was helpful for our itinerary.

There are some spectacular grades on this route (complete with curves and abrupt, immense drop-offs). We saw a sign warning of wild donkeys and got excited. We didn’t spot any.

Other signs left us baffled.

Hula-hooping pronghorns?

We made Medford in time for a leisurely, lovely dinner with Bruce and Jo. (Did I tell you that I have the best in-laws?)

When mom called later that evening, I thought it was just for birthday wishes, but it was much more somber. She let me know that dad had only 24-48 hours to live.

My dad underwent chemo and radiation for esophageal cancer more than a year ago. It was a tough couple months, but the outcome was more than a year of pretty vigorous life. He’d not been feeling well for a month or so, but still. It was a shock.

Dad lived for another month, cared for with great love by mom, my siblings, and his grandkids. He enjoyed sharing stories right to the end.

Dad passed away November 16, 2020.

I was honored to be asked to give his eulogy.

My father-in-law is a gift

Mark’s birthday

Last night Mark and Jess were considering heading home, but when Bruce offered a driftboat trip on the river, they decided to stay. Wise folk!

I don’t have pictures of their trip, but know from experience, that it was beautiful. Bruce knows the Rogue and the critters and birds along its banks.

I have the best in-laws (my siblings voted) and I know it.

Happy birthday Mark!

Redwood Highway to Medford

Creepies, crawlies, and other delights

Yep, all that happened and an amazing tour of the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum as well. We pulled in and thought it might be closed. We stretched our legs looking at the planes in the field. As we walked toward the buildings a man came out. So friendly, so knowlegeable.

Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum

He had been a jumper from this base for over ten years (transferring to Alaska when it closed down). I wish I remembered his name. I’ve never had such an interesting and thorough tour anywhere.

The museum itself has an unique history. When the base was decommissioned, smokejumpers began lobbying congress so it wouldn’t be destroyed. Ten years of constant lobbying later, they got the right to make a museum. So their families and friends joined them at the site to refurbish buildings. They brought their equipment and photos. Cool.

We saw the very sturdy sewing machines in both rooms–the beginner’s room where young men learned to sew and made stuff that lives did not depend on and the advanced room where you sewed jumpsuits and other life-dependent gear–and only after many years in the first room.

A couple chutes where stretched out on tables and more hung in the drying shed. There were amazing photos.

This museum is free–we left a large donation. So worth it. We’ll stop there again and bring others.

Taylor’s Meat, Cave Junction

Whenever we’re by this way we stop at Taylor’s. We try to time it for lunch.

We bought great big beautiful milkshakes and the usual assortment of jerky and sausage. Mark and Jess enjoyed it too.

Schmidt Family Winery, Applegate Valley

We met Jo and Bruce at the Schmidt Family Winery for an ad hoc dinner. Schmidt wine, Schmidt cheese and olive plates, a Schmidt pizza, some Taylor meat, and camping apples.

As often happens, there was live music. Nice!

Schmidt Family Vineyards is a marvelous place to spend a lazy music filled evening

Sacred orbs and bad-ass fiddle(r)s

The Oregon Country Fair is amazing

More sun, more music, more join-right-in parades, more good food and nice folks. More napping in the sun in Chella Mella meadow.

Solemn procession to place the Orb of Something-or-Other

Bought lots of Christmas presents for the little-littles—bendy forest folk dolls, toy fishing rods, and more.

More wine and dancing that evening. This time with steak.

Hats at the fair: Mine, Amy’s and Dave’s

High Holy Days of Summer

Oregon Country Fair with Camping Extension, day 2

Not a camp day—Oregon Country Fair, day 1

Dave discovered that our rental had satellite TV, so we watched the World Cup semifinal while eating breakfast and preparing for the fair.

I wandered around the field-like yard harvesting weeds and a few branches of a purpose-planted variegated willow. I turned them into a nice wreath for Amy’s hat. Dave tucked a plumeria under his hat brim and I tied my pink and gold rosebud headband into a coronet. Bill was long-sleeved and long-trousered due to antibiotic induced sun sensitivity, but he enjoyed the Fair nonetheless.

Welcome to the Fair, my High Holy Days of Summer

Fairies and dragons and jugglers and musicians. Grandmas, mammas, and babies. Nerds, hippies, and who-knows-whats. They’re all at the fair and this year was no exception. The Oregon Country Fair–my High Holy Days of Summer.

Like most years I ate well—avocado dreamboat, purple corn drink, yucca dough empanadas—yum!

Oh yeah, and Heather helped us park! I love it when two different spheres of my world touch.

Back at the rental house at Benson Wine Company, we ate poke and danced–to a live band this time.

Embarcation antics

Oregon Country Fair with Camping Extension, day 1

Last Wednesday Bill gave me a lesson in pulling Brave Horatio along after. He behaves very nicely, taking corners just about the same as LuluBelle. They’re a pretty sweet pair.

Bill had meetings Friday morning but I had the day off. Even though we were pretty well organized, I stopped at Fred Meyers after dropping him at work and bought a few last minute things. Picked Sarah up so she could take Max the Blue Meanie home for a luxury week with a non-human-powered vehicle. Hope she doesn’t get lazy.

Packed, checked lists, packed, and packed some more.

I started off to get Bill—late.

Had to swing by Sarah’s to rescue a state parks pass (that we didn’t need) from the blue car.

Finally picked up Bill about two.

Friday afternoon was gorgeous, lunch at Burgerville delicious, and the thought of Amy and Dave waiting at our rental with salad Nicoise lovely.

The little rental house at Bennett Vineyards & Wine Company was prefect!

We brought our salad Nicoise to the tasting room and danced to the DJ. (To be more accurate, mostly Amy danced, but she danced enough for all if us.)

Driveway into Bennett Wine Company

Not one bit of buyers remorse

Heading home from our Shakedown Cruise

Bruce made a great good-bye breakfast and we packed up and headed home, very pleased with Brave Horatio. No buyer’s remorse at all.

We stopped in Portland to show Dave and Amy our new digs.

It rained. Rained hard and continuously. We got safely home and tucked Brave Horatio away in the garage.

So nice not to be faced with a sopping tent and damp sleeping bags.

Tule Lake Wildlife Refuge

Shakedown Cruise, day 8—house bed night

We left Brave Horatio at Bruce and Jo’s and took their car over to Tule Lake Refuge. Left via Central Point and returned by Dead Indian Road.

Snow geese and ducks and grebes, both Clark’s and Western. Also lots of deer.

On the way back, most of the way up the mountain, I saw a coyote in a meadow, then, just around a corner, a pair of Sandhill cranes. Both beautiful.

Meandering to Medford

Shakedown Cruise, Day 7, crab, rum, and sleeping in a house

This vacation is working—I’m starting to forget the date and day of the week.

We packed up quick and breakfasted on fruit and cashew clusters in the car.

On to Medford!

We were in Brookings by nine and had to wait for the crab boiler to get up to temp before we could purchase crab. We dinked around for 40 minutes and continued south richer by four Dungeness.

Stopped at All Star Liquors to buy ‘drop warming rum for Jess and Mark’s new teardrop and scotch for Brave Horatio’s larder.

Dove through Jedediah Smith Campground to check out campsites in anticipation of a future two-teardrop trip. Loved all the 50s on the river side. Decided to try for 59 and 60 on a summer trip with Jess and Mark.

The weather stayed nice and the Redwood Highway was as gorgeous as ever. We got to Bruce and Jo’s around lunch.

House beds from here on. I appreciate the showers, but miss my Brave Horatio nest.