Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Portland House Sitting

We've moved North and are now house/pet sitting in a lovely neighborhood in SW Portland. We are taking full advantage of big city amenities such as finding interesting music venues, the huge variety of food options, hitting up stores that carry things we'll need on the road, and excellent urban walking in this lush, green city.

We've got some furry friends to look after...this is Rosa, a 9 year old long-haired chihuahua:

And this is Bezzaf and Shwiya, they are 10 year old Maine Coone's and are brothers (litter mates) believe it or not:

Bezzaf is a BIG boy...at least 20 lbs!

Shwiya is svelte in comparison
Portland weather has been awesome so far, we've come at the best time of year...they haven't had rain in over 35 days!

Stay tuned for more adventures...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Frisbee Golf at Whistlers Bend in Roseburg Oregon

Lisa and Hans decided to check out one of the Frisbee/Disc golf courses near Roseburg Oregon.  We had seen the course in town, but we heard there was a really beautiful course about 12 miles east of Roseburg, near Glide, so we decided to check it out.  We took the back roads and had a nice drive through the rolling hills, crossing streams and seeing several deer and turkey.  We made it to the course by 9:00 am for 18 holes or baskets of disc golf.    We arrived at the parking area and met a couple from Salem who spent the night at the campground that is in the park, just to play disc golf.  Whistlers Bend Park follows the contours of the North Umpqua river and has nice views of the countryside and in the middle of the park is this really nice Disc Golf Course that is ranked  #12 in the nation and it is Free! Can't beat that!

Hole # 9, better not throw it too far or
you will end up down the cliff and into the river!
 I hit a tree with my putter and it literally exploded.
 Oh well!  I bought a new one in Roseburg after we finished.
 I had this putter for like 18 years, so the plastic must have gotten brittle.

Hans surveying the long 600+ ft hole #14 with a 100+ foot drop off.  This will take some skill!

And off it goes..... uh oh it is curving to the left...OK... I see it!
Still not too bad!  At least I avoided the poison oak down the hill. 

Lisa's final putt on hole #18.   It was a beautiful course!  We even saw a large owl on hole #2 and a deer on hole #16. 

Then we had lunch a few miles to the east in Glide and took North Bank Road back to the Roseburg area.   We passed many houses that were built with gorgeous river views.   Temp today about 65 degrees when we started and 75 when we finished... Pretty darn perfect way to spend a day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Earning our Keep and Enjoying Oregon's Summer Bounty

Back in the day when we simply vacationed in Oregon we always arrived before the blackberries were ripe. Native Oregonian's consider these plants invasive weeds, and they certainly do take over just about anything in sight given half the chance......but since I adore picking fresh food from any source I am in heaven this summer because we have arrived smack dab in the middle of blackberry season.

Recently, we had a delicious dinner with Chantal's dad and stepmom; featuring fabulous Mediterranian chicken and corn on the cob and bean salad and grilled veggies...a summer's bounty on our plates. Plus, I finally got an opportunity to grill stone fruits for our dessert. We had picked up some beautiful apricots at the Bandon farmer's market and I made Apricots with chocolate and raspberry balsamic drizzle. (Click for recipe)

Grilled Apricots
We are spending about two weeks with Chantal and James here in Myrtle Creek and we wanted to repay the favor by helping them out around the house. The biggest project has been installing baseboard in about 75% of the house. Luckily Hans has some experience in this department, and we made a good team tackling this project. Here is the master at work!

Happy at the end of 270 linear feet of baseboard!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hiking and Tidepools in Bandon, OR

On our second day at the coast we hiked the trails at New River County Park a few miles South of Bandon, OR. This park is an "area of critical environmental concern", developed to protect the habitat of threatened and endangered species including Aleutian Canada Goose, Snowy Plover and Bald Eagle. While we didn't see any of those birds, we enjoyed seeing one of the earliest cranberry bogs developed in the area in 1915 and walking the dune trails virtually covered with plant growth. Warning: there were mosquitos here!

This trail is on top of a dune covered with plants
On the recommendation of Paul and Nina of the blog Wheeling It, we had a fabulous dinner at Alloro, which is probably the BEST restaurant in Bandon...highly recommended!

This morning we got up early to do some tidepooling during a minus tide. Tidepooling is one of my favorite beach activities and I was not disappointed today. The cooler ocean temps of the Northern coast seem to harbor much more sea life than I've ever seen in San Diego.

Masses of sea stars
Anenomes galore!
Young birds begging for food from their elders
Spectacular colors and varieties of plants and seaweed

Rocky coast full of fascinating life, normally hidden during high tide
Quirky driftwood structures
We're back in Myrtle Creek now, but the temps have dropped to a much more reasonable 85-90 degrees YAY!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Escaping the heat

It's been warming up in the Roseburg/Myrtle Creek area this past week so we have taken full advantage of our wide open schedule and headed for the coast for a couple of nights. We are currently in Bandon, a lovely little beach town on the Southern coast of Oregon.

Expecting temps to be around 75 degrees, we were greeted instead with temps in the high 50's. Quite a difference in 85 miles and we barely packed enough warm clothes! Still, this is more enjoyable than 100 degrees!

Yesterday we checked out Bullards Beach State Park for future reference as a good place to camp, along with the Coquille River lighthouse, which is no longer in service.

We also headed South to Cape Blanco State Park where Nina and Paul of the blog Wheeling It are currently volunteering as lighthouse hosts. We took a tour of the Cape Blanco lighthouse which is still in operation today and was shrouded in fog.

View of the fresnel lens
Afterwards we had a nice chat with Nina and Paul at their RV where I got a cat-fix with their friendly and oh-so-happy to be outside cat, Taggart. For Hans and I anticipating a life on wheels, it's great to be able to talk to a couple who has been living and enjoying this lifestyle for 3 years.

Now the fog had lifted so we headed back to the cliffs near the lighthouse and hiked down to the beach where we got a great view of the jagged rocks that dot the coast here, making the lighthouse a necessity.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 10, 2012

We are Oregonians!

Wednesday we took our time leaving Berkeley. We took a walk before hitting the road and actually ran in to someone we know: Danny Snyder of Meshugga Beach Party and Tomorrow Men and Frankie and the Poolboys fame.

Happily we would get through the flat farmland halfway through the day's travel and into the mountains:

First look at Mt Shasta

Black Butte
We arrived at our new home address in Myrtle Creek, OR at 5:30pm grateful to be done with the long drive. Here is the view out our front door:

Chantal & James view out the front door

Thursday we started the process of becoming Oregonians knowing that it could take 60 days (according to the DMV website). The key items to be accomplished towards that goal were bank account, voter registration and DMV. One of the options for proving residency was to bring along an Oregon resident with whom you are living to vouch for your intent to stay in OR. Chantal (my daughter) met us at DMV on her lunch break to do just that. Within an hour we had taken and passed the drivers knowledge test, gotten our temporary licenses, and transferred the truck registration...we are officially Oregonians!

Next up: spend a couple of weeks with the "kids", helping them with house projects, then head to Portland for back-to-back housesitting gigs.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NOW we feel retired

August 7, 2012...the day retirement REALLY started. We woke up in our empty house at 3:30am, packed up the last bit of necessities and were on the road by 4:15am (including a brief freak out of Hans having forgotten his sunglasses at the neighbors the night before...thanks Carol for being so accomodating at 4am!). We still managed to accomplish our goal of making it through LA before the traffic got unbearable.

The truck is stuffed to the brim:

With our final destination being Myrtle Creek, OR, it's an easy, yet boring, drive up interstate 5 through California. To pass the time through the central valley we reminisced about San Diego and studied the Oregon drivers manual so we'll be ready to take a test for our new drivers licenses.

We spent the night in Berkeley because it was about half way and gave us the opportunity to use a gift card for Trader Vics in Emeryville that we'd been attempting to use for several years. Nothing like a really good Mai Tai to celebrate the start of the journey!

Lots of good walking in Berkeley and the local marina parks. Next stop: our new address in Oregon!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Awesome Neighborhood

I have lived in San Diego my whole life...50 years! Of all the neighborhoods I've lived in, the last has been the best: North Park. Not only are there fun restaurants and bars and unique shops within a few blocks of our house, there are many neighbors who have enriched our lives.

Last night Bill and Suzanne Cortez hosted a neighborhood bon voyage party for us. Here are a few pics from a night full of good friends, wonderful food and drink, and beautiful piano playing by Jack. (I also learned a lesson...when you write a blog it's a good idea to have that in mind when taking pictures. I didn't get a picture of our hosts together, darn it!)

Thanks Bill and Suzanne for hosting an awesome night at your lovely home!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

San Diego Garden

I LOVE to garden. It is the one thing I will miss the most about owning a sticks and bricks home. It's my therapy...I get to be outside creating a place of beauty and serenity or something wonderful to eat, getting my hands dirty. Nature just soothes my soul. Here are some pics to commemorate our San Diego garden...