"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Last Days at the Umpqua River - OR

Oakland, Oregon
Umpqua Riverfront RV Park

Our time here is almost over and then we'll be moving on to the coast.  We got a call from Curt and Glenda that they can meet us for a day before they move north.  We're always glad to get some Curt and Glenda time in when we can especially since we had to cancel our week or two time together while we had some unexpected repairs done. Curt suggested meeting at the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum for some hiking.
 On the way we enjoyed the views as usual.
It was pretty hot and a little muggy but we enjoyed the shady trails around the park.

We made sure to check for ticks afterwards as they are all over.  Good thing, as Curt and Steve were tromping through the bushes looking for geocaches and I brushed a couple off of Steve.
We took a short drive to the Hop Valley Brewing Company for some lunch.  It was a nice day.
On the way back home we stopped in Drain to visit the historic part of the Oregon Trail.  There was a geocache here too.
On one of the last days we took a day trip to visit some waterfalls with Steve and Diane.  There is the North Umpqua Trail that follows the North Umpqua River for 79 miles.  The parts of it we could see followed the river closely and took you past many waterfalls and small lakes.  What a great trail to hike.

Diane & Steve

Watson Falls is a 272 foot waterfall which has a short trail just over a mile.  It was Memorial Weekend so it was pretty busy.  It was a beautiful hike.

North Umpqua River.  Very cold and much clearer than the part of the Umpqua that we are on.
Besides the falls we wanted to take a short hike to some hot springs.  We didn't think it would be too busy as it was a bit of a drive down a rough dirt road.
The hike had some steep parts to it where you had to watch your foot placement due to roots and rocks but it was a pretty hike.
Still some Dogwoods blooming here.
Human Waste?  Uh, yuck.  I won't be going in! 
The color of the hot springs pools were a pretty blue but there was a lot of graffiti here and some garbage and more people than I would've guessed.
Many of the pools hang over the edge of the hillside above the river.
Some of these springs can reach up to 108 degrees so beware.
Steve decided to check and see how hot 108 feels like  ;-)
We also looked more closely at a spot in the trail that was covered with what I thought was Cottonwood-type fluff that floats around from trees in the spring.  On the way back I realized that there were only pines and firs here, no Cottonwoods.  Once we looked closer and followed the path you could see they were downy feathers, not fluff.  And more concentrated under a low branch.  Oops.  It was some hawk's leftovers!
Diamond Lake

 One last time on the Umpqua River before we leave.
 My brother, Steve, and Red out on the water.
Nice one Red!
 Nice one Steve!
It's been a great couple of weeks fishing with family and friends.  Looking forward to some time on the coast and some good seafood!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Umpqua Valley Wine Tasting - Oregon

Oakland, Oregon
Umpqua Riverfront RV Park

What to do on a cold dreary day when you can't fish?  Wine taste of course!  We had a few in mind so we set off for some small town driving and some big time tasting.

Time to bale the hay.
We had heard great things about Reustle Vineyards so off we went with Red and Pam.  This area seems to be big on Pinot Noir.  They also had some nice whites too.  Along with the wines they have a beautifully landscaped winery.  The flowers were in full bloom.

We went inside and they walked us through the barrel storage caves into a very nice seated area.

They brought us out 4 wines to try and each were accompanied by specially paired appetizers.
Red, ready to dig in!
We enjoyed the tastings and food and decided to buy a couple of bottles.  Then we found a warm spot under the tent right next to the heater and listed to some great music by the band.  Of course we enjoyed another bottle.  Well, Pam and Steve did.

Red had wandered away so if you look at the picture on the right you will see that didn't stop Pam from spending a little time on the dance floor with new friends.

Knock knock!
Some sheep grazing in the flowery fields on the way out.
Next we headed to Branborg Winery in Elkton.  They had some nice wines and gift section.  Diane and I chose to taste the sweeter whites.  There were some really good ones and we walked away with a nice bottle for later. 
It was hard not to notice all the ferris wheels in the tasting room.  Little ones, large ones, just about everywhere you looked.  I asked the owner if there was a special meaning to that.  She told us a sweet story of her and her husband meeting on a first date at a carnival on a ferris wheel.
Our third tasting was at a nearby winery called Bradley Vineyards.  It was a much smaller tasting room and very dog friendly.  I think there were more dogs than people in there.  The grounds outside were pretty and inviting if the weather was warmer.

Our final stop was also in Elkton at Lexeme.  The owner, Monja, was very friendly and we loved her heavy French accent, but the wines were just ok.  None of us were cared for them much.  So we left in search of a place to get some dinner at another nearby town.

The wines weren't the best.

It was a very pretty drive to the little town of  Oakland.  With a population of just under 1000, we weren't sure if there would be much choice of places to eat, but Pam and Red had driven through it earlier and said it was very cute.  They had left after the first winery but wanted to meet up with us for dinner.

The Scotch Broom was blooming all over creating huge splashes of yellow to brighten up all the green.
Barns are all over this cute farming community. There isn't much about Oakland, but it did have some very old brick buildings.  Other than a couple of antique shops, a small hardware store there isn't much here.  We enjoyed walking through them.  My brother did buy an old fork with an antler handle that was exactly like the one Steve has. 
The Stears family who owned the hardware building was one of the founding families.
While we waited for Pam and Red to arrive we spotted a chocolate shop but unfortunately it was closed.  Next to it was what we thought was another antique shop but it had a small tasting room.
The Triple Oak Wine Vault was built in an old restored bank building.  Of course the wine is held in the bank vault.

These stone orbs were hung on the wall as you went up the staircase.  Interesting decorations.
At this point only the Two Steves were wine tasting.

Pam and Red arrived and were waiting for us at Coco's CafĂ© & Bar.  Not the old chain.  This was a very interesting restaurant in an old building that was used to house the turkeys before judging them. I couldn't find much info on these historic buildings, but Coco's also boasts the largest original dance floor in Douglas County.

On the way in we spotted this vintage set up?
Cute waiting area out front.  And of course lot's of potted flowers all around.

The place was huge!  Just random tables and chairs set up with lots of nostalgic pictures and decorations hanging on the walls and just about every other place.
I'm really not sure how they stay in business being so far our with not much around except a few wineries to bring in business.  I don't think the fisherman get out here much.
We were here mid-week and there were only 3 people working.  One bar man, one cook and our fantastic waitress, Valerie.  She was hysterical and had us laughing through the entire dinner.  There were only two other tables besides us, but we waited what seemed like an hour for our food.  They apologized many times as they didn't have the staff to cook and serve us all. We didn't care in the slightest as we were having so much fun.  We totally understood.  The prices were cheap, the food was super delicious and the company was wonderful.  This was a fun, quirky place and we highly recommend it if you happen to be out here.

Out front was parked this old Chevy.  My Dad loves these cars and used to own a few so I always take pictures and text them to him.
On our way home Steve and I stopped for a quick cemetery cache.  There were many old settlers here.  I always look around for the oldest headstones.  Mary Farnsworth was born in 1836.  Amazing.

The cache was hidden near this old, HUGE tree.  It was a beautiful tree and sat at the top of the cemetery.
And to bring an end to this fun day, we drove up to the old Rochester Covered Bridge thought to have been built around 1862.
On our drive back to camp we finally stopped along the road to get a better look at some painted boulders we kept noticing.  The one on the left is painted to look like a trout head.  The others have what looks like high school logos on them. 
Diane, Jim, Joyce, Kris, Steve, Red & Pam.
The gang getting ready to open up some of that wine!
Next we check out some waterfalls as we bring a close to these past couple of weeks at Umpqua.