Relaxing in Gold Beach OR

Relaxing in Gold Beach, Oregon Day 6

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Another gorgeous day at the campground. Again I didn’t drive anywhere. I read, wrote and went to the beach for a few hours. This morning I met two women and their husbands from Gridley, CA. One was an artist and the other made jewelry with gemstones. The artist was doing a watercolor of trees. I commented that I was writing about trees. She is originally from Kansas and misses the change of color in the fall. Fortunately, she is flying to the Jersey shore in a few weeks and then to New England to see the leaves.

The jewelry maker showed me a beautiful necklace she had created. She sells her things in a boutique shop in Fresno. She talked about going to Quartzite, Arizona in January when thousands of vendors are there. It’s an experience every RVer should have just once. Maybe I’ll go there at the end of January before I go to Palm Desert.

Tomorrow I’m leaving early to go to Lincoln City which folks say is real touristy. It’s at least a five-hour drive. There’s a strong north wind blowing today. If it continues tomorrow, I’ll be heading straight into the wind. But I want to stop in Bandon and Florence. So much to see and so little time when I have made reservations all along the way.

In addition to writing my book on nature, I’m also thinking about revising my memoir – writing it from the POV of me as an adult or of my mother looking back. My scenes and dialogue can stay the same, just add reflection and richer detail. I might work on that also.

 

Honey Bear RV Resort

Gold Beach, Oregon Day 5

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I have not started the engine of my RV today. This is how RVing ought to be for me. Stay in one place and relax. When I was at Sugar Pine State Park, I drove to the beach each day, still driving even though it was only half a mile. Today was perfect. After I had coffee, I walked to the edge of the campsite and sat at a table in the sun. I actually started to write my book on Nature (applause, please). After an hour or so, I packed a PBJ sandwich, camera, towel, and water and walked to the beach. The walk was simple – took about 10 minutes.

Now I remember why people raved about Brookings and Gold Beach – there is no morning fog or overcast. The sky is clear all day! So different from Bodega Bay or Stinson Beach where the gloom doesn’t burn off until mid afternoon. The tide is coming in and the waves are large. I’m surprised that the beach has no stones or driftwood. Just sand as far as I can see. I keep looking for birds that had the same beak as the skull I found yesterday. Didn’t see one but I’ll look again tomorrow.

I’m beginning to understand why people drive to their favorite spot and stay a while instead of driving on to the next destination each day. I’m going to have to do more of this. I guess it’s similar to my going to Florida and sitting on the beach for two weeks. The rate here at Honey Bear RV Resort for a full hookup is $33 a night – the best I’ve had in a year. If I can learn a faster way to get here, I’d come and spend a week or two or three in this location.

 

 

A Philadelphia-Style Halloween

A Philadelphia-Style Halloween

 

Noche de luna llena - Full moon night
Luz Adriana Villa A. / Foter / CC BY

October always brought change and much anticipation. By the middle of the month in 1955 in Glenside, a suburb of Philadelphia, the maple trees that lined our street and arched over it had dropped their red and orange leaves. My friends and I had spent hours jumping in leaf piles as high as my shoulder and hiding in leaf forts on our front lawns. When all the leaves from the maples, dogwoods, and copper beeches had fallen, my parents and I raked them into burn piles in the street and set them ablaze. I loved the smell of burning leaves. My job was to push more leaves into the fire, tend to fire and beat down any errant sparks. Soon after, rain and showers washed the grey ashes down Twickenham Road and into a creek at the end of the street.

With the leaves disposed either on the street or wheel-barrowed into a compost pile at the rear of our two-acre property, my parents concentrated on winterizing our house – another indication that Halloween was nearing. The nights had dropped to the low 40’s where I could see my breath in the air and our daytime highs were warm enough that a light jacket kept me comfortable. My father hosed off the summer screens and replaced them with heavy storm sash. Our lawn furniture was carried into the cellar where the oil burner had been cleaned and filled. A cord of apple wood was delivered, stacked on the porch and covered with grey canvas. I didn’t help with these tasks because, as a twelve year old, I was busy playing football with the neighborhood kids.

Inside our house, my father rolled up the summer rugs and waxed the hardwood floors. I loved the hum of the buffer and the smell of Butchers Wax. The winter rug was rolled out and our living room furniture was rearranged to face the fireplace. My mother dusted the venetian blinds and hung the heavy duty, double layered maroon drapes. She washed all the walls with Spic and Span to remove a brown tar and nicotine film from hundreds of cigarettes smoked by my parents.

I noted these October changes and began planning for Halloween and what mischief I could get into on the three nights preceding Halloween – Chalk Night, Soap Night, and Mischief Night.

To be out on these free-for-all nights, my four girlfriends and I had to convince our parents to let us go out after dark. We told them we were going to each others’ homes to do homework. But after the adults had had their cocktails, they didn’t question us leaving the house dressed in dungarees, sneakers and a dark jacket – carrying no notebooks or books!

These nights leading up to Halloween were a big deal for us. We were typical ’50s suburban kids, respectful of the Township laws as well as our neighbors. Our predictable pranks were more a product of tradition than any kind of malicious intent. We girls felt bold and brave and clever roaming dark streets, sneaking up on houses and scurrying away. For me, I felt like an unleashed puppy – away from my parents’ strict control. For these four nights, I didn’t have to be a sweet, quiet daughter. We were the only “girl gang” in the neighborhood. Yes, we were tomboys and held our own with the boys our age. Most of the year all of us played together, but on these special October nights, we divided into boys and girls groups.

The sky was clear as darkness crept through the neighborhood. On Chalk Night, we loaded our pockets with pieces of white chalk. Because Twickenham Road was lit only by a lamppost at the end of each long driveway, we felt invisible as the five of us gathered near Diane’s house and plotted which house to chalk first. Our plan was to chalk the homes of older people without kids and we knew who they were. Our street had about 30 homes and we knew all the neighbors by name – Mr. and Mrs. Coale, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick, the Helwigs and so on. The adults knew each of us by name too.

To heighten the excitement, each of us wore a disguise of sorts.

“Don’t we look great! Nobody will recognize us.”

Diane wore her Phillies baseball cap – red with a large white “P” on the front. Sue covered her blond hair with a scarf tied under her chin. Gay had her Cisco Kid cowboy hat. Ricky pinned her long pigtails on her head like a crown. I wore my father’s WWI Army hat with a brown brim. I had to stuff the inside rim with toilet paper to keep the hat from falling over my eyes.

At each house we scribbled all over the asphalt driveway and on the concrete walkway up to the front door. In big letters we wrote words like “BOO,” “SHIT,” and “DAM” (without the “n”). We drew jack-o-lanterns with crossed eyes, ghosts and cats with arched backs. Diane was like an artist – her drawings were recognizable while mine looked geometric. Each driveway was like an endless blackboard with NO borders and NO rules and NO teachers looking over our shoulders. We silently ran from house to house leaving our mark. When our chalk was worn to a nub, we split up and walked home.

Unfortunately when Diane and I went to her house after school the next day, old lady Becker had complained to Diane’s mother that we had defaced her front walk. With water in a metal pail and a scrub brush in hand, we knocked on the battle-axe’s door and offered to clean up our art work. She gave us a tongue-lashing while, on hands and knees, we cleaned her entire walk. That was okay with us because we planned to soap her windows that evening. Mrs. Becker was a crab.

The night air chilled my face and hands but not cold enough for gloves. The moon was bright, almost full. Soap Night had the same arrangements as the night before. We met again each wearing the same disguise. Instead of pocketing chalk, we cut off chunks of Ivory Soap from the large white cake sitting by the sink that everyone had at home. Each of us had at least half a cake in our pockets, The purpose of Soap Night was to scribble soap on glass. It was a pain in the neck for a grown up to scrape the soap off glass with a razorblade and wash the glass. We were on the prowl for garage windows at our eye level. Front storm doors, living room and dining room windows were also targeted. The most fun on Soap Night was to scribble on car windows parked in a driveway. Men would have to wash their cars before leaving for work. And if a lamppost had not been turned on, we easily scribbled on the panes. With five of us girls in action, it took only a minute or so to leave our signature on each house, not only on Twickenham Road but also on neighboring streets.

As we walked up Fox Road, I noticed a front door that still had its screen door on. “Look at that screen door just waiting for soap. I spotted it first, so this one is all mine.” Without a sound, I approached the door, whipped out a big chunk of soap and zigzagged all over the screen. Little bits stuck in the screen and other bits fell to the door stoop like grated cheese. I was delighted thinking how hard it would be to clean up.

Mischief Night was the most thrilling night leading up to Halloween. We were free to run through the streets and to misbehave without consequences (hopefully). If adults had forgotten about Chalk Night and Soap Night, they were well aware of Mischief Night. Our parents gave us permission to go out in exchange for the promise that we would not “attack” our own homes. “Don’t be bad and be home by 9” were our instructions.

This night, again dressed in our disguise, we five girls were armed with bags of dry white rice, a roll of twine and kitchen scissors. Nothing too dangerous. We had heard about throwing raw eggs at cars, putting dog dirt (aka dog shit) in a paper bag and setting it on fire, and peeing in a milk bottle and leaning it against the front door. These were destructive actions we left for bad boys in the city, nothing we’d ever do. (But sometimes I wished I had the guts to be really bad).

It appeared to us that more inside and outside lights had been turned on at dusk and every car that could squeeze into a garage had done so. With an almost-full moon and additional house lights, we were challenged to sneak between bushes and bend low as we approached a house.

Our plan for Mischief Night was to annoy as many adults as we could. We accomplished this in several ways. First, we rang doorbells and slammed door-knockers a dozen or more times. If someone were stupid enough to come to the door, we fled. Second, if drapes or blinds had not been drawn and we could see people in the living room or dining room, we threw handfuls of rice at the glass. When they heard the clatter and looked toward the window, we ducked and ran, leaving a mess for them to clean up.

The Helwig’s house had two gigantic bay windows – just waiting for a “rice shower.” We dashed across the lawn, dug our hands into our bags of rice and raised our arms on the count of three to pelt the window. But before we could toss the rice, we were sprayed with water followed by “You boys go home. No mischief. Go home” shouted with a heavy German accent. We high-tailed it across his lawn and down the street.

“Where did he come from?”

“He was waiting for us with a hose near his garage.”

“He scared the pants off me.”

Our jackets and dungarees were wet in spots but our spirits hadn’t been dampened.

Our most detailed and exciting prank involved using twine and scissors. If a storm door had not been locked, we opened it just enough to reach for the door handle of the house. We tied twine to the handle, then closed the storm door, oh so quietly, and tied the other end of the twine to the exterior handle of the storm door. Neither door could be opened. Sometimes we crept back into the night and imagined the people’s frustration when they tried to go get their morning newspaper. Other times after doing all the tying we rang the doorbell and hid in the bushes to see what happened.

“Harry, I can’t open the front door!”

“I can’t either. What have those damned kids done?

“Well, do something!”

“I’ll go out the kitchen door and see what’s wrong. Get me a flashlight. Those damned kids.”

We took off squealing with delight.

Often as the five of us roamed the streets, we’d meet up with groups of  boys. We’d quickly exchange tales of what pranks we had committed and which adults were out to haul us by our ear back home. With new information we’d reconnoiter where we would go next and which houses needed a little more annoying.

My father, whose birthday always fell on Mischief Night, skipped eating his birthday cake in order to stand in our driveway to “protect” the property. At that time, he had a dark green Philadelphia Electric Company car parked in our driveway. No way did he want the air let out of the tires, or the wiper blades twisted or the windows soaped. With his tan jacket zipped to his chin and the collar turned up, he and our fat Irish Terrier paced the driveway until 10pm when all hooligans, including me, were home and safely in bed.

Halloween Night took much more preparation than the previous nights. In 1955 we assembled our costumes by rummaging through closets and swapping items with neighbors. Pre-made costumes had not been invented although paper false faces (now called masks) could be purchased at the 5&10. Diane and I had decided we would be fishermen and go trick or treating together. We got boys’ yellow slickers with the matching hat with a brim and long side pieces that came to our shoulders. Black men’s galoshes covered out feet and legs. We carried fishing poles and wicker picnic baskets to hold our treats. We drew black mustaches on each other using an eyebrow pencil. The best part of our get-up was “smoking” a corncob pipe filled with cinnamon. We could puff out a little smoke to show how grown up we were.

At 6:30pm I hurried down the street to Diane’s house where we planned to begin our trick or treating. The stars were dimmed by the full moon hovering over us. It was a Blue Moon in 1955 and ripe with intrigue on this Halloween night. With a little imagination, we could see witches on brooms swooping in front of the golden globe. None of us needed flashlights to locate the houses that gave out the finest treats.

We ran to the first house decorated with glowing jack-o-lanterns on either side of the walkway. A paper skeleton hung on the door daring us to enter. We rang the bell, just once. Mrs. Becker opened the door and the storm door.

“Trick or treat!” Diane and I yelled in unison.

“Come in and let me see your costumes.” Her tone no longer showed her anger from two days before when we were on our knees scrubbing off chalk. We entered her living room and stood silently while she looked us up and down.

“Your fishermen costumes are good and I like your pipes. Turn

around and let me guess who you are.” With great anticipation, we did as she said.

“Let’s see, one of you is a lot taller. I wonder if you are brothers.” We giggled. “Or maybe you are girls, it’s hard to tell.” She paused. “Could you be Diane? And Marsha?”

“Yes, that’s us,” we laughed and lifted up our yellow hats revealing more of our faces.

“I have treats for you, rice crispy squares that I made today. I’ve wrapped them in waxed paper so they won’t get sticky in your basket.” We opened our picnic baskets and she placed one treat in each.

“Thank you, Mrs. Becker,” we said as we hurried out her door

“You be good girls and have fun tonight,” she said as we disappeared down the street.

Each neighbor welcomed their costumed guests into their dining room or living room. Before we were offered any food, the adults had to guess our name. We laughed with glee at our mistaken identities and loved when we had tricked them. Diane and I joined our friends off and on during the evening presenting ourselves en mass to eager and overwhelmed couples.

After revealing our identity, we stood around the dining table filled with treats. There were paper cups filled with apple cider, plates of apples, candied apples, caramel apples, popcorn balls and freshly baked ginger cookies. Some families offered us a cup of hot chocolate topped with a marshmallow. Each homemade goodie was neatly wrapped in waxed paper; some were tied with black or orange ribbon. Others offered us store-bought candy – Dubble Bubble gum, a yellow box of Chiclets, Hershey bars, Life Savers, Cracker Jacks, Tootsie Rolls, and licorice. Once in a while an adult would drop a nickel into our baskets.

The very best house to go to belonged to the Romig family whose property adjoined ours at the back part of our two acres. (The Romigs had a tennis court and the only swimming pool in town. We played baseball and football on their grassy acre without ever being told to skedaddle.) Diane and I hustled up the winding street to reach their house at the top of the hill. The dark wood front door stood open and Jerry, the older son, greeted us as we exclaimed “Trick or Treat.” The house was enormous like an English Tudor but we were more interested in the treats that covered the dining room table and sideboard.

We were never disappointed at the Romig’s. They served us a cup of punch with ice cream floating on top. After licking our lips and handing back the glass cup, we were invited to take any two store-bought treats. This year we had a choice of Mars Bars, Hershey Bars, Turkish Taffy (strawberry, chocolate, banana or vanilla), Tootsie Rolls, or a box of M&Ms.

“Did you hear her say we could choose two?” I whispered to Diane. “I like all of it. This is hard to do.”

“I’m taking a Mars Bar and a banana Turkish taffy. This is neat!” She placed her selections in her almost-filled basket. Being a chocolate lover, I finally decided on the Hershey Bar and the M&Ms. With many sincere thank you’s, we left the Romigs and canvassed our way down the hill.

“This was the best Halloween ever. Everyone loved our fisherman costumes.”

Diane and I parted company at the bottom of the road after agreeing to sort and exchange candy tomorrow after school. The full moon had risen over the arched limbs of the maple trees creating eerie shadows on Twickenham Road. As I walked home lugging a full basket of candy, I felt elated but I also like I could throw up from all the sweet treats I had eaten and from the cinnamon in my corncob pipe.

That night I lay in bed reviewing the thrill of roaming the neighborhood for four October nights without adult supervision. I loved being bad – it brought the devil out in me, the risk-taker, the free spirit. I was unleashed, powerful, clever, and brave. The remainder of the year I was disguised as a sweet, well-behaved girl. I snickered, hugged my teddy bear, closed my eyes, and drifted off in sweet sleep.

Marsha A. Ross

2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eureka, CA to Gold Beach, OR Day 4

Day 4 Eureka to Gold Beach, Oregon

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What an interesting day I had. I left Eureka, CA at 9am and headed toward Klamath River and Crescent City. I was stopped for roadwork on the bridge over the Klamath River. That’s what I saw of it. Traffic was so jammed that I couldn’t get off the highway. I had hoped to go to the spot where the river flows into the ocean. Salmon are spawning right now and it’s easy, so I’m told, to catch 100 pounds of king salmon in a day.

In Crescent City, I used my iPad to find a WalMart where I bought the sewer adaptor and a dust buster. Headed toward the Oregon boarder, stopping a few times to look at the ocean or admire the evergreens in the mountains.

At one small town, I drove through an RV park that was right on the ocean. I stopped for a break and to walk the pier. I pulled beside an old Ford Escort wagon. A man was sitting in there smoking a joint. I caught the drift of things which made the ocean look a little better. The man got out of his car and stood long enough for me to see who was smoking. This guy was as tall and thin as a pole. His pony tail, down to his shoulder blades, was a beautiful auburn color but around his face, his hair was grey. He wore moccasins and a ball cap on backwards. He walked off toward the jetty and I looked in the rear of the car – a sleeping bag and knapsack.

Farther up the road, I again stopped to look at the ocean and take a break from a strong crosswind that was pushing my RV off the road. This time I saw a weathered-looking man setting up a tiny tent just off the road. His bike lay in the grass. He approached me and told me he was riding from Arizona to Coos Bay. He had ridden more than 1400 miles in about 30 days. He said the winds were too strong and his legs were too sore to keep pedaling. He was taking a break for three days. He never said why he was riding. He was not a cyclist – looked like a homeless person.

Went through Brookings, OR and thought about the couple that sold us their house in Greenhaven (Sacramento) and moved to Brookings – only to return to Sacramento 6 months later. They had moved to the Oregon coast because there was minimal fog and an ocean view. I can’t recall why they returned but they asked if I wanted to sell back the house!

I thought the price of gas would be lower in OR, not so – just the same as Eureka – $4.07 a gallon. Kept pushing onward to Gold Beach where I stopped at the visitors’ center to find out what’s happening in town this weekend – car show and a brew festival. Guess which one I’m going to! I cut through a field to the beach. White caps on the water and wind so strong it just about blew off my hair. I found the skull of a turkey vulture. Picked it up to take home with me but it was just recently deceased and smelled. I took pictures of it but left it behind in the sand.

I finally arrived at my destination – Honey Bear RV Resort on a hill across from the Pacific. This is owned and operated by an elderly German couple. Friday nights they serve a German dinner, buffet style (but only for 15 minutes, not like the food is sitting in trays for hours). The German couple serves each dinner guest. Tonight I had red cabbage, two potato pancakes with huckleberry sauce, veal schnitzel, a large bratwurst that had not a speck of fat in it. Homemade rye bread and butter ws the final thing I added to my plate. German beer topped off the dinner. What I couldn’t eat was wrapped in foil for tomorrow. After dinner and dessert, the German owner sang songs in German and English and told a few jokes. He also played the harmonica. He was accompanied by a man who used three gigantic keyboards.

At first I was parked in a shaded site but I was so cold, I asked to be moved to a sunnier/warmer location. Now I have a view of the ocean and watch the sunset. I can hear the constant crash of the waves. There is no fog settling in for the night. The sky is clear and the stars are brilliant.

Banana Slugs and Redwoods Day 3

Road Trip Day 3 Banana Slug and Redwoods

 

Banana Slug
Vicki & Chuck Rogers / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

What an interesting day I had! I headed north of Eureka about 40 miles to the Redwood National Park. Glad I had gas in the tank because there was no place to fill up. When I got to a bitty town of Orick, signs were posted telling us to watch out for elk. And there they were in a field near the road. I pulled over, grabbed my camera and joined a few others to see a herd of elk perhaps 20. Some were lying in tall grass, some were munching on grass and tree limbs. Then I saw the buck with a rack almost four feet high. I got pictures of him. Although there were two other young males in the herd each with a rack no bigger than a foot high, it was easy to tell who was the leader of the herd.

I took the scenic route off US 101 to get into the redwoods. The visitors’ center was rustic with a fire burning in an old stone fireplace. I took a short trail to explore this old growth forest. What a spectacular difference from the redwoods in Humboldt SP! The trees today were not as large and the floor of the forest was thick in knee-high ferns and large sorel. There were many big leaf maples in the understory. Most of them were covered in thick moss. I was walking back 1500 years in time.

A creek meandered through the underbrush and in one moist area, I saw a yellow banana slug on the path. I was delighted to get a picture of it. I remember when I took the 6th graders on their 5-day field trip, we all had to kiss a banana slug! Why? The banana slug produces a layer of mucus on its skin that deadens the nerves of whatever touched it. California has the heaviest concentration of banana slugs in the world probably because they enjoy crawling in redwood groves. Did you know that an average banana slug can crawl six and a half inches in a minute?

I spent a few hours in the woods then headed back toward Eureka. The sun was hot but the air was cool. I pulled over at the beach where I looked for agates (although I don’t know what an agate looks like). I had read a blurb about finding them along the beach. I picked up a few stones, seaweed, small bits of wood, a sand crab, a crab leg and a feather. Put all of this in a baggie with the blackish sand. I’ll make a little display sometime.

I drove into Old Town Eureka and walked several blocks. It was a lot of hype but not much to see. I spent a little while in an old bookstore, just browsing. The restaurant I wanted to have dinner in was not open (4pm) and the menu showed items way too expensive. Speaking of expensive, the gas price here is $4.09 a gallon. I used Gas Buddy on my iPad and found a Costco with gas at $3.86.

When I got back to the KOA, I decided to empty my sewer line. Got out the hose, hooked it up but the grey elbow that goes down the sewer hole wouldn’t stay in place, it kept popping out. The last time I emptied the tanks, I had a large rock to hold it in place. But tonight there was no rock. I couldn’t hold the elbow in the hole and reach the levers to empty the tanks. Hmm…I couldn’t ask someone to help me, not appropriate. Hmm…  I got my folding recliner chair and dragged it to the sewer hose and rested the chair on the part that wanted to pop out. The chair was heavy enough to hold it in place. I emptied the tanks and then took a picture of my improvisation!

After dinner I talked to my neighbor and he showed me the piece I need to buy; it’s called an adjustable sewer connector – $12 at WalMart. RVers are such friendly, helpful folks. We talked for an hour.

 

Road Trip Day 1 Heading North in California

Day 1 Heading North in California

Grand Canyon National Park Trailer Village (South Rim) 2784
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Somehow I couldn’t get myself together and out the door until 10am. My first learned lesson is that the shortest way from point A to B can take a long time! I’ll never drive from Lincoln on Hwy 65 to Yuba City and then Hwy 20 to Willitz. Stop and go through every town. Plus road construction where I turned off the engine for 10 minutes or more three different times. My gas mileage was ruined for the day. Don’t ask me.

The RV is so convenient – I just pulled over and used the bathroom several times. I guess that’s called “stop and go.”

I hadn’t been to Clear Lake since 1974 when I camped there for a weekend. I remember being out in a rowboat when a storm came up with strong winds pushing me away from shore. A man with an outboard motor pulled me in with the cold rain pelting me. Anyhow, I stopped at Clear Lake today, walked out on a pier and was glad I wasn’t camping there. The water was green and slimy with big chunks of algae floating around. After camping at Lake Tahoe with its pristine water, Clear Lake looked like a swamp.

I finally arrived in Willits – a big metal archway announced I was in town. I stopped for gas and pulled into a school parking lot to reconnoiter. The restaurant I had planned to have dinner in didn’t look good. My other options were Burger King and Jack in the Box. I passed them up and headed two miles out of town to the KOA.

I’ve never seen a KOA like this one. It is geared to families and kids. There is the usual pool and spa but this one had a petting zoo, the Skunk Train stopped there, there was miniature golf, disc golf, horses, and lots of old west store fronts where your imagination can take you back 100 years.

I took a little walk to loosen up my legs and then sat in my chair and watched a number of rigs pull in before dinner time. There has been a strong, cool breeze coming from the west and by 6pm I had to put on a jacket. The park is quiet now except for the crickets and other wild creatures. I didn’t feel like eating so I had an ice cream sandwich for dinner.

Tomorrow I head for Eurkea and hope to have fresh salmon for dinner.

 

 

 

Road Trip Day 2 Heading North

Day 2 Heading North

Redwoods 03
Soller Photo / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Two minutes ago I was really surprised, I went to load all my pictures from my trip (about 100) into the computer and they have disappeared from my disc. I had them an hour ago when I was fiddling with the camera and poof they are history. Damn, I had 50 great pictures of the redwoods, ferns, laurel, shops along the way. Gone, only in my memory now. I was just about to send you a bunch of them.

I left Willits, CA at 8am and continued north toward Eureka. I stopped in Richardson Redwood State Park where I walked through the woods but the area had been cleared and not as primitive as Humboldt State Park. What drew my attention along the way were the shacks, rusted cars, faded mobile homes from the 1960′s and dirty hitchhikers. The forest is a perfect hiding place for all those who want to disappear. Almost creepy.

Hwy 101 followed the Eel River which looks like a stream in a wide gravel bed. But apparently in1964 with a 24 hour rain storm, the river rose 33 feet above flood level and wiped out several towns. It’s hard to imagine but I learned that this area gets between 60 and 80 inches of rain each winter. I spent a few hours at the Humboldt SP visitors’ center which was a lesson in local history and animals in the area. After I toured the center, I took a one mile walk through the gigantic redwoods. Moss, ferns, lichen, and big leaf maples grew among the trees. At some point in history there was a fire in this grove and I could see charred bark about 70 feet high. But that was long ago because the forest floor was covered in vegetation. Too bad the pictures are gone. Walking through the woods, I felt small and insignificant compared to the trees that were hundred of years old.

As I approached Eureka, i was struck by the inland landscape with grassy hills and areas covered in laurel trees/shrubs. Coming into Eureka, there was one lumber mill after another with gigantic piles of logs and milled boards – piles must have been 40 feet high. After I checked in at the KOA I crossed several bridges over marsh land and ended up on the beach with the Pacific rolling out before me. I parked the rig and took a long walk at the water’s edge – the tide was just beginning to come in. There were five surf boarders catching waves and one paddle boarder doing the same. A haze hung over the beach. The air was still, crisp and smelled salty. The dark sand is so different from the Florida beaches.

I had an early dinner at the Marina Cafe – fresh King salmon, clam chowder (not so good), a local beer and a view of the marina looking back into Old Town Eureka.

Didn’t talk with anyone. I walked the RV park before dusk. The wind has picked up, a cool breeze coming off the water. The fog has rolled in and I’m about to roll into bed.

Love my RV! Did the “stop and go” (pee) routine a bunch of times today. So handy.

 

 

Sweet Corn and Tomatoes

Two Ears of Corn Over BlackSummer is really here when I can buy sweet corn at the farmer’s market. And that’s what I did early Sunday morning. I have a favorite farmer whose corn has been consistently delicious for years. The corn is in after a cool, wet spring. Five ears for $3.00. The price is up from last year when it was four for a dollar.

I cook the corn just like my mother did when I was a kid. Get the pot of water to a rolling boil, put in the ears and boil for 4 minutes. Slather each ear with butter and salt and eat while hot. We had a huge vegetable garden when I was little. My mother got the pot of water ready while my father picked and shucked the corn at the compost pile.

There are many ways to eat fresh corn. A few people cut the kernels off the cob making a pile on the plate. That looks no different than frozen corn from the grocery store. It’s a distancing from the experience of eating corn on the cob. Some people put little yellow plastic stabber/grabber things in the ends of the cob. I wonder why they don’t want to touch the cob. I wouldn’t want to use little plastic supports to eat a pear or an apricot or a stalk of celery. Why not hold the corn? What’s wrong with buttery fingers?

Buttering an ear of corn can be challenging. Some people balance a pat of butter on a knife and attempt to press the butter onto the hot kernels. The butter slips onto the plate and the warm knife jabs at the melting butter to put it back on the cob. Other people simplify the buttering. A cube of cold butter sits on a plate and the steaming cob is held and slid up and down the butter. The cube melts in the center but doesn’t slither away.

Once the ear is buttered, the ear is rotated so that salt covers the drippy corn. The sweet corn is ready to be eaten.

I eat corn in a specific pattern. The tip of the corn is held in my left hand, the fat end is in my right. I bite off the kernels going from left to right like the carriage on a typewriter. Reaching the right end of the cob, the ear is turned down and the next four rows are munched, again moving from left to right.

Years ago, folks from Minnesota told me that I was eating my corn incorrectly. They hold the ear and munch around the cob. Once they have devoured one section, they move to the right and eat another portion around the cob. That doesn’t feel right to me. I like the typewriter method.

Home grown or locally grown tomatoes can’t be beat. Each year I plant a few tomato plants in containers. Usually I’m not successful. The pots dry out and those dang tomato worms appear out of nowhere. Picking up a few tomatoes along with the corn and cukes at the farmer’s market works out better for me.

Summertime with fresh tomatoes is the only time of year to make tomato and cheese sandwiches for lunch. I like to use marbled rye bread. I slice a juicy tomato and lay the thick slices on the bread. I sprinkle Penzey’s Greek Seasoning on the tomatoes and place two slices of Swiss or Provolone cheese on top. A few minutes under the broiler to melt the cheese…and I’ve got a tasty summer sandwich.

Sweet corn and tomatoes…that’s what summer is about.

Tomato Worm

 

The biggest ever
Fat tomato wormCaptPiper / Foter / CC BY-NC

All the little, tender ends of my one tomato plant are gone. I know why – the hungry tomato worm has found my patio tomato plant. How did it find my plant? I didn’t have a sign out on the street which might have said, “One small tomato plant in my back yard. Come now and feast on the leaves.”
Where do the worms go before and after they munch on my tomato plant?

I bend over and move the leaves around to find the green sucker. No luck. How can it do so much damage and I can’t see it? It must be a fat little bugger after eating half my plant. When does it feast? Should I patrol my plant in the middle of the night with a flashlight?

I Googled “tomato worm” and read that it had been a brown moth before it changed into the worm. So, now I know that it flew around the neighborhood, over the fences and around the bushes looking for new plants. Does the moth see or smell the tomato plants? Does it have a GPS system to mark the back yards that have the must succulent plants? Does it tell its other moth friends where to hang out for the summer?

I bought a large plastic pot in April. Used a whole bag of potting mix. Spent an hour putting in a drip line to the pot. Drip irrigation is hard to assemble with my arthritic hands. I did all that work so a worm could eat my plant? That wasn’t my plan. I’m not into sharing my plant with a worm. It’s decision time for me. Either I can abandon my plant to a lousy tomato worm and support the local farmers’ market or sit next to my plant with a magnifying glass searching for a worm in camouflage.

Dust

 

B0008353 Dust mite
Yuck!wellcome images / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

The sun is up. I’m sitting in my recliner watching the Today Show. My eyes move from the TV to the glass coffee table covered in dust. The shelves on either side the flat screen are dusty.

Who has been in my house? I cleaned two days ago. I used a dust cloth with oil on it to catch all those little particles. Once I tried a microfiber cloth but the dust shifted from one end of the table to the other. My air filter is clean and the windows are shut to keep out the heat of the August days.

Where does dust come from? Does it grow like bacteria in a petrie dish? Does it have a magnetic attraction to pull dust in from the neighbor’s house? I don’t do aerobics in the living room to stir up dust hidden and compressed in the carpet.

I’d like to think this is fairy dust scattered here and there to bring me good luck or great riches.
I think I’ll sit back, watch TV and see if a fairy sneaks in to take her dust to someone else’s house.