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.

Attack of the territorial turkey

Shakedown Cruise, day 7,

Q-Creek Campground

Bill cooked a ton of bacon and we ate it with eggs.

Camping without kids is a different kind of nice. There seem to be so many more hours in the day. Bill took two naps, we walked through the woods to the creek (together this time) and the tom turkey startled us on the way back. The camp host told us later that he was extra proud this year, having doubled his hens from one to two.

I didn’t know turkeys could move so fast. I didn’t know they were so BIG.

We quickly decided on another path and I chose and carried a sturdy turkey stick.

For the rest of our stay Bill took great pleasure in hiding out of sight and making turkey gobbles.

No worries, I had my stick.

Turkeys are BIG and they RUN at you!

More hammock time, more river, more reading, more naps.

For dinner we cooked hot dogs over a second great campfire. Briquets helped the soggy wood dry out and we got some nice coals.

I used a Myrtle sucker as a hot dog stick. It smelled great in the fire but I didn’t notice any difference in taste.

Partly charred hot dog is just as joyous now as it is in my memory.

We experimented with dry Myrtle leaves. They burn in a quick hurry.

Pileated Woodpecker in the Myrtle Forest

Food from the forest

Shakedown Cruise, day 5

Q-Creek Forest Service Campground

Beautiful sunny day. After another granola breakfast (and more awful coffee). I learned to hook Brave Horatio up to LuluBelle and we headed north to say goodbye to dad before turning south down the coast to the Rogue River and Quosatana Creek (Ka-saint-nee).

Dad walked downstairs and had a quick teardrop tour. He’s walking much less gingerly. We stopped to see mom at work and were on our way.

We stopped for great coffee at Floras Creek Coffee Company in Langlois and enjoyed the residual gossip. The library board had just fired some friends of the library. Small towns-big doings.

We poked into Cape Blanco to look at the lighthouse. I love the Sixes River and the view of the mouth you get on the road to the lighthouse. The farm on the north side of the river near the mouth is one of my favorites.

We stopped at Humbug Mountain and took photos of a big clump of trillium. I thought about all the people who’d been up the trail to the top of Humbug and once again resolved to do that hike—another day. We thought we’d have a picnic a little farther down the coast, but the wind made us decide to push on and eat lunch in camp.

More whale right in Port Orford. Tails, fins, and spouts. Cool!

We headed up the Rogue River. About half-way to Agnes, we found a great spot at Quosatana Creek (that’s Ka-saint-nee). Q-creek campground is in the middle of a Myrtlewood forest.

I grew up around Myrtle trees, but didn’t know they came in forests. Near Bandon, our Myrtles are usually proudly single or part of a small family. This was a whole, amazingly-wonderful smelling forest. Myrtles are broad-leaved, evergreen and almost nothing grows under them. Pretty interesting.

We set up and took sandwiches down to the river for a sunny and lovely lunch on the gravel bar.

The rest of the afternoon we napped and read in the hammock, watched the BIG tom turkey strut around the meadow, took solo walks to the creek, and lazed in the sunny warm.

This Tom was proud of doubling his harem. The camp host said he had one hen last year. This year he has two.

We added the fennel from the riverbank to foil packets of potatoes and roasted them in the coals. The grill from Gerald and Carol worked great for steaks topped with Myrtle leaves, and we enjoyed the quiet dark. There were only three or four other people in the entire campground so we had a loop to ourselves.

Potatoes roasted with wild fennel and Steak grilled with Myrtle leaves

Brave Horatio continues to make a comfortable nighttime nest.

Oystercatchers rarely eat oysters

Shakedown Cruise, day 4, Simpson Reef and Shore Acres

Little groggy this morning

Coffee and granola, quick check-in visit with dad and on to Simpson Reef and Shore Acres. As always, lots of pinnipeds, no elephant seals today though.

We met a young, very social, beginning birder.

I think I’ll have a hobby.

and his little sister

The freckled-stomach robins are the teenagers

We shared our scope so he could see oystercatchers (she was on to other things).

Now I know that oystercatchers rarely eat oysters. They like mussels, cockles, and easier-to-open things. Beginning birders determined to have a hobby read the entire entry.

Lovely sunny day. Not much wind and lots and lots of whale spouts (no penises).

Crow couple

Back at mom and dad’s we made corned beef and cabbage, visited a bit and slept snug and uninterrupted in Brave Horatio—both phones turned UP.

Late night adrenaline

Bullards Beach State Park

Well the griddle we bought is NOT going to work. That’s what happens when you whim-purchase without knowing the dimensions of your campstove. The holes-that-are-also-handles extended half-way over both burners. We had half hot griddle, half raw flames.

  • Equipment changeout 1: rehome the too-small griddle. MEASURE the stove and shop sensibly for a replacement.

Bill and I both have celiac disease and we’re trying out some new products. The Bob’s Red Mill GF pancake mix was a little sweet but tasty. The weird griddle-campstove mismatch turned out half-raw/half-burned pancakes. Oh well. Put enough butter and syrup on and it goes down fine. It was actually a pretty good match to our second batch of bad percolator coffee with grounds in.

As we packed for this trip, Bill tried to convince me that my big blue speckleware percolator was a bad idea. I had fond memories of percolated camp coffee so in it went. My palate has either become more refined or my memory more vague, likely a combination. That coffee was awful—overboiled, full of grounds and just nasty.

  • Equipment changeout 2: toss the percolator innards, heat water in the lovely blue speckleware pot, and dedicate a French press to Brave Horatio.

Coffee aside, we’re pleased with our planning and feel reasonably well equipped for comfortable camping.

More in-town stuff and fish tacos at Tony’s Crab Shack for lunch (a must-have for us every trip to Bandon). Bill bought a sweat shirt to go with his many Tony’s t-shirts (they’re soft, the neck doesn’t bind, and the design is neat).

Tony’s Cab Shack’s super soft T-shirts are Bill’s favorites.

Dinner at mom and dad’s again (leftover, but yummy spaghetti) and back to our campsite.

Our Canadian neighbors invited us to share their campfire. It was a BIG campfire. We had a great chat. They came from Ontario to Vancouver for a military reassignment. Interesting folks. She’s 13 years older than he is…seem pretty well matched…big-ass motorhome.

All tucked in and drifting off, we were surprised by a soft knocking on the door.

“Mary, it’s mom.”

My phone was losing its charge so I’d turned it off and plugged it into the cabin slot to top up. (I’m notorious for keeping my sound off, phone off, phone elsewhere. It usually doesn’t matter.)

Each time we visited mom and dad, he seemed on a good healing trajectory. Horrible daughter that I am, I wasn’t at all worried as I turned my phone all the way off.

Mom drove all the way into the campground in the middle of the night, found our spot and knocked on our door to let us know they were heading into town and the ER.

OK, we’re awake!

We sent them on their way, dressed quickly, and followed.

Bill and I frequented a wide variety of hospitals on both coasts when our kids were small. (We have medically intense kids.) This was, by far, the smallest ER we’d ever seen. The wall slides back and you walk from the waiting hall into the treatment room. Nice people and dad was fine, just some edema from inactivity. Several hours later we were tucked back in, my phone now on with the volume up.

Whale penises

Shakedown Cruise, day 2, Bullards Beach State park

I woke up as Bill wiggled into his clothes—a sequence of moves we now call teardrop yoga. I snuggled back to sleep into my warm nest and woke again to the sound of cooking—one of my favorite parts of camping.

The new stove worked well. Extra btu is a marvelous thing and I’m glad we spent time researching and reading reviews. Eggs, bacon and really bad percolator coffee. Camping!

We visited the lighthouse and drove around Beach Loop. The Whale Watching Spoken Here sign was out by Face Rock Viewpoint so we stopped in.

Whale penises

Amazing, marvelous, unmistakeable.


Such vibrant pinkness on the gray ocean.

The whales were just behind the Cat and Kittens (to the right of Face Rock)

We made mom and dad scallops for dinner that night and they were tasty but couldn’t dislodge thoughts of “oh my, oh wow!” “whale penises!” from my brain.

We slept cozy in Brave Horatio again.

Messing with marshmallows

Shakedown Cruise, day 1–Pickup in Eugene/camping in Bandon

So excited to pick up Brave Horatio. We spent Friday night at Amy and Dave’s in Portland, got up early, had breakfast with Lin and Arthur at the Sunrise Café in Eugene and met Brave Horatio at Sawyer and Jon’s at eleven.

One cashier’s check, lots of nice discussion, and some angle grinding later we were off to Bullard’s State Park just north of Bandon. We stopped at my folks to check on dad’s convalescence, made and shared spaghetti, then drove to A-loop to set up camp.

Jon used his angle grinder to modify LuLuBelle’s odd hitch.

It was raining a little. Not a problem.

We put on raincoats and unpacked. It was a little like playing house—finding the best, or at least a reasonable spot for each item.

There was a surprising amount of space.

There is more than enough room in Brave Horatio’s galley to store tableware for 6 (including wine glasses), ample cookware and food. The counter hatch leads to a ton of under counter space.

We made the bed with our lovely new Pendleton blanket—Raven and the Box of Knowledge, based on a work by Preston Singletary, and a fluffy down comforter. All the fancy dining stuff found homes and the food had plenty of room down under the hatch.


We celebrated with a glass of Happy Camper Red provided by Sarah and Erik. While we sipped by the fire we tried to figure out where to hang their sign.

This sign started here, migrated to the middle of the utensil drawer, and now lives on the inside of the galley hatch cover.

I began my quest to roast marshmallow whip coated something in the campfire. The whip was too cold. I persevered, molding stiff marshmallow whip around a vertically sliced banana and hershey bar sandwich, jamming it toward the coals, and twirling in a fruitless ☺ effort to keep the whip on the fruit. What looked so easy on the Martha Stewart webpage turned out to be a gloopy, gloppy mess. Fun though.

We slept well. Warm, quiet, snug.