Thursday, June 30, 2016

Birthday at the beach

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Lewis, happy birthday to you.......

Lewis turns 7 years old today.   I can't believe how time flies.

He tried on several hats this morning while he was waiting for us to come outside and give him a present.   He decided the red one suited him.

guys, guys!  I got everything all set up, are you coming out?
are you coming?

He accepted his new bone and immediately took it behind the bushes for a private tasting.

He enjoyed it all during second cup but I'm not sure it agreed with him.

We packed lunch and took him (and his ball) to the beach for a special treat.   It was sunny and warm but as we approached Hecata Beach the wind started to kick up.

the beach grass was blowing sideways

We turned south and walked about a half mile in the blowing, stinging sand to a drift wood shelter someone had built in the soft sand above the tide line.

We set up our chairs under the shelter and gave Lew is ball.  He played his favorite ball game, solitaire kick ball, all the while we ate lunch.   He wouldn't even take a break for the slice of ham we brought for him.

We spent the better part of 3 hours there and he played in the sand, nonstop, the entire time.

Even behind the shelter, sand filtered down on us.  We had sand everywhere, I mean everywhere.  Sandy ham sandwiches, sandy apples, sand in our hair, eyes, mouth, ears.   Lewis's nose was practically plugged solid with sand.   It was coming out of his eyes, and coated his tongue.

                                            We had fun!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Wine country pictures

This morning we moved from McMinnville to Florence, Oregon.   We took rt. 101 south along the coast for about 120 miles.   It was a difficult drive for Dave.   The road is very twisty and narrow in spots and to make it even better paving was just being done, there were no lane lines and the "abrupt edge" on the warning signs was accurate.....the shoulder was about 8 inches below the road surface.    In between the busy tourist areas of Lincoln City and Newport the route twisted  up and down the coastal range with sharp drop offs down to the crashing, rocky ocean.    Not so many miles, but the ones we (he) drove were tough.

Tonight we're in a wonderful, private, wooded site at the Elks Lodge just a few miles north of Florence.   Its perfect and very quiet and the price is right.   It was a pleasant 65 degrees and brilliantly sunny when we arrived.....I'm so glad we weren't here yesterday!

You gotta love the weather forecaster.....

  Cable TV gives us 2 channels and cell service and our internet connection are pretty bad  but we're very close to the park's Wifi so lets see how well it works.....
Here are the pictures I couldn't show you yesterday....

the outdoor tasting patio at Sokol Blosser

part of the indoor tasting room at SB Winery

the wonderful "tastemaster" at Torii Mor Winery

entrance to White Rose Winery

the wild, windowless tasting room at White Rose

Oh, and Lewis wants you to know he LOVES it here.   He doesn't have to be on a leash when we're all outside and there is plenty of space behind Beluga to play with his "fish"......

Monday, June 27, 2016


If I thought the internet was slow before, I was wrong.    Now I know what slow is......   I can't begin to show you any pictures, and I have some great ones.

We spent our last day here exploring the vineyards around the Dundee Hills,  stopping here and there for tastings (tasting and buying).     We sipped Pinot Noir, Viognier, Rose, Dry Riesling, Pinot Gris, a wonderful port made with Syrah, and  more Pinot Noir.    The wineries, their tasting rooms, their wines and staff were all very different from each other.

Lange Winery was high on a hill, filled with roses and lavender.  The young woman doing our tasting was funny, personable and very knowledgeable.   The tasting room was small and pleasant.   We left with 3 bottles.

Sokol Blosser's brand new, award winning contemporary tasting room was spectacular.    It fits the land like a glove.     Inside and outside space invite you to linger and savor their wines and the beautiful views.   We enjoyed wandering around and admiring the building and its garden.   Our tasting, however, left us flat.     Perhaps it was the young man serving us.   We tasted four wines, each poured without comment from him, one after another as soon as our glass was empty.   End of story.    We left feeling very unsatisfied.

Then we found our way to Torii Mor, a real gem.   Their wines were fabulous, the young man serving our tasting was a real personality.   He knew his wines, the winery and his customers.   He was happy to pour more than the normal 4 tastes, happy to revisit whatever we were interested in, even offered a small taste of the brandy they distill on site to make the yummy, chocolaty port style we all loved.   He was full of history and anecdotes about the winery and its owners.   After our tasting and purchasing we strolled the pretty Japanese Gardens surrounding the small tasting room.  

I really wish I could show you pictures of each of these places.   Sigh.

Just one more.....we had an hour before our dinner reservation so we decided to just follow the road up into the hills to see what we could see.   White Rose Winery was at the end of the road, and since I live with a certified Rose Robber,  it was only fitting to check it out.     No white roses on the property but so much lavender.....every variety I've ever heard about were growing in beautiful curving beds backed by the thick and perfectly trimmed grape vines.   Magnificent views in all directions, birds singing, expanses of closely trimmed grass bordered by fragrant purple lavender.      We found our way to the tasting room and went inside.      Inside into a dark, cool, cave like building with no windows.   Dark except for a chandelier above and a long bar on one end.    Wow!   After the sensory overload outside that door, this quiet dim room was a real surprise.  We could concentrate totally on what we were tasting.   Extremely interesting experience.    Our server was pleasant but a little aloof.   He had a very heavy accent so it wasn't easy to understand what he was saying.   The wines were very good, all Pinot Noirs, but so expensive that we left with only the delicious taste  in our mouths.

A wonderful comfort food dinner in McMinnville ended our day and we headed home, extremely happy campers.

Tomorrow we break camp and head west to the coast and our Elks Lodge accommodations in Florence, Oregon.

I'll try and get the pictures on there, finger's crossed.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Wine tasting

Yesterday it rained.   We had planned on going into McMinnville to see what their Farmer's Market had to offer and then to walk along 3rd street to soak up its atmosphere and perhaps taste a little wine.    Doing that while holding an umbrella didn't appeal to us so we stayed home, did laundry and took care of a little travel planning.

The rain let up a bit  in the afternoon so we decided to treat ourselves to a good dinner at Nick's on 3rd.    A very good idea.   A very good meal and a very good bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir that cost more than our food.    Life is short.

On our way home the Rose Robber struck.    While I was looking the other way he leapt into our Jeep with a beautiful, velvety red rose and we sped away.    Shhhh, don't tell.


Today was still quite cool but the clouds were broken and it didn't look like rain so we decided to hit a few winery tasting rooms and explore a bit of McMinnville in between.

We followed Lange Winery signs up into the Dundee Hills.  While we were in Bend we shared one of their nice Pinot Noir's with Pamela and Vic so our interest was piqued.    The road turned to gravel and we wound up through a deep ivy clad forest before it ended at driveway leading through rows of beautifully manicured vines.

We were greeted by a small flock of Cedar Waxwings that flew along with us, in and out of the grape vines.

Oh Dave.....

We enjoyed a delightful tasting and left with a few bottles of our favorites including a really nice Pinot Gris.

Our second tasting was at Dobbes Family Winery.    I was hoping they would be pouring their 2013 Wine by Joe Pinot Gris as I'm always looking for a good, reasonably priced white wine.     Too bad, it wasn't on their tasting menu today and neither was a Viognier I'd heard about.

We sat outside on their pretty terrace on a comfy red couch and enjoyed a personal tasting and pleasant conversation with our hostess.    I didn't take any pictures while we were there but we did, once again, walk out with a few bottles of our favorites.

In between tastings we went into McMinnville and strolled around the quaint and pretty downtown.     Unfortunately, the internet has slowed down again and I can't load anymore pictures.    Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

the coast, again....

One day, I've lost track of which day is which, we drove from McMinnville to the coast.    Its hard for us to be within an hour of the beach and not go there.

We got on rt. 18 right outside of our campground and drove it directly west to the ocean, just north of Lincoln City.

The coast there isn't as accessible as it is near Astoria but we were looking for a spot to drive on the beach to have our lunch.

We found beach access at one spot but the dune looked very high and the sand very deep.    Dave walked up the hill of sand to see what was on the other side before taking the jeep up and it didn't look very promising.   Besides, there was a big pick up truck stuck to the floor boards in the sand just over the crest.    We decided to look elsewhere.

We continued north, past Pacific City, toward Cape Kiwanda.    Bingo! We found a very easy drive through to a wide beach.   There were plenty of people there, flying kites, surfing and hiking to the top of a tall sand dune that seemed to rise up from the waves but we found plenty of space to ourselves.

our lunch view of Haystack Rock

We shared a good lunch while watching the "others" play.    After sandwiches and apples were consumed we walked in the surf looking for unbroken sand dollars.

a lone surfer waits for a wave

a Dory boat preparing to slide into the sand with the day's catch

can you see the little ants, sorry, I mean can you see the people
climbing up this gigantic dune?

It was warm in the sun, but a strong wind kept the temperatures in the "very chilly"  so we got back in the Jeep and continued on along the coast toward Cape Lookout.    There was some debate as to just how far we'd go before turning around and making the trip back but I wanted to see "just a little further" so we did.

We climbed up and up, then wound down and down to arrive at a viewpoint at Cape Lookout.

We could see the distant Three Arch Rocks off the coast near Tillamook.

We spied a campground at the State Park below and drove down to check it out.
Decision?   Wonderful beach access but too crowded with tents and waaaay too many mosquitoes...check that one off the list.

All in all we put more 150 miles on the Jeep before we arrived home just in time for happy hour.    Lewis was happy to see us.    He felt sure we could play ball and enjoy our gin and tonics at the same time.   We indulged him.