Sunday, December 23, 2012

It takes all kinds!

One of the pleasures of our travels have been staying as such a variety of places.  We've stayed at RV Parks that have been small family-run enterprises that were filled with activities for both the young and the not so young. Some tree-lined with gravel sites and some commercial ones that were very large with paved sites and little shade.  We've parked along rivers, parks, beaches, at a farm, at a service dealer's parking lot, next to a friend's home and in cities.  We've been able to listen to a jam session, a DJ, a bingo game, the rain and thunder and a great frog concert.  We've sat around wonderful log fires, watched tug boats along the shoreline, watched a light show, seen beautiful sunrises and sunsets, watched fireflies darting about, and had great conversations with fellow travelers.  Each special and unique.  However, all that said, I have to say that the park we selected in Ashland OR was the most unique one yet.

For those of you from my era, do you remember the 60's "hippie communes"?  "Love, Peace & Brotherhood".  Well, the Jackson Wellsprings RV Park is the closest thing to one that I have come across since then!  Now, I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just sharing that it's unique (in this day & age especially).  When I was researching places to stay for the few days we were planing to stay in the area, I had come across their website and it appeared like a nice modern park that had a great hot springs pool.  Soaking in a natural pool sounded good to me, so I gave them a call!  When I told her the type and size of our motorhome & toad, I asked her if that would be any problem, she said it wouldn't and to come in at any time before 11pm.

When we drove in on Monday, we were greeted by the camp hostess and told that the office wasn't open until 6pm, but that we could go ahead and park at our site until then.  She showed us our site and also explained that it was "ladies night" at the pool so I would have to be the one checking us in.

The site was a bit of a challenge, but Jack managed to pull it off ok.  The grounds were pretty rugged, to say the least.  Hard to describe.  More like a very large dirt area that had been leveled (at one time, a long time ago) and turned into a parking lot of sorts for the various modes of living accommodations.  Cable, power and water was strung up at each site, but even that was pretty hap-hazardly done, but nonetheless, it was available.  Our neighbors were friendly, at least the ones we saw.  "Sun Eagle" came by a couple of times to briefly chat.  Around us were trailers, some very old, some a bit newer, there were a few converted buses, old motorhomes, a yurt as well as some small cabins.  They were in the process of building or remodeling (I couldn't tell) the main lodge.

At 6:30pm I ventured over to the office to meet up with the personnel and see what was going on.  "Wisdom" was very nice and after taking payment shared about the hot spring.  She said it was "bathing suit optional" with lockers available in the adjacent room, and to "enjoy!"  I decided to join the other ladies and give my body a much needed relaxing soak.  At any given time, there were about 25 females from about 12 to 70 years old chatting, sitting, or just relaxing underneath the winter's sky.  While the building had sides and nice shower rooms, it didn't have a ceiling, so traversing from one area to another proved to be quite brisk!  Some hardy ones even went into the non-heated swimming pool!  "Not I" said this So Cal Chick!  After my soak and star gazing I did my best at finding my way back to our site.  There were no lights once you got beyond the lodge and with my tiny flashlight, all the various pathways looked pretty much the same.  After a few wrong turns, I finally spotted our rig!  How could I miss it, it was the biggest and brightest in the area!

This unique park brought us lots of giggles and fun stories to share with our families and one more experience to add to our just never know what the next stop will bring, and that's the joy of this, after all, isn't it?

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can on my Flickr account at:

...on the road in Oregon,   Marie

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A house is not a home

We've been shopping.  Well, kind of, anyway.  It's been a full year now that we have been "on the road" discovering the beauty of some of the states in this country of ours, and according to our plans, we should be looking to see where we would like to "settle down" at now.  The "now" has been moved a bit...for a couple of reasons.  One, is because we still haven't seen all the states, National Parks, special sights, etc that are on our lists, another is that we are still  having to much fun to stop just yet!  However, that said, we still wanted to take a look around the south-eastern portion of Oregon while we were near that area, as it has been on my list as a strong potential place to live.

I've shared with a number of my friends and family that we want to get away from the congestion of San Diego, to a much smaller town.  One where we can walk around town, knowing the various shopkeepers, our neighbors and community.  To be civic minded and involved socially as well as philanthropically.  Little traffic with more trees & art.  I like "college towns" because there always seems to be a feeling of energy about.  More activities, art, music, theater to say nothing about all the classes one has access to!  All this and "perfect" weather too.  Not to much to ask for, right?  Of course, "perfect weather" means different things to different people.  For instance, Jack's cousin thinks perfect weather is four very distinct full seasons, while Jack thinks anything below 60 degrees is to cold, and I think anything above 80 degrees is to hot!  So, as you can see, this "perfect place" is getting harder and harder to find!

We know a  number of people who have either lived in or around the south-eastern Oregon area or have spent time there, that have recommended certain towns and cities for us to check out. The favorite "small town" recommendation was Sisters.  So it was at the top of our list to visit.

As we left Tacoma Washington, we traveled through the Cascade Mountains, through the snow to the eastern side of the of Oregon, a part of Oregon we had never been to before.  The drive was beautiful, but we were glad that snow was light and the roads had been cleared.  Driving this large rig & toad on a slippery mountain road was not our idea of a fun drive!  Our visit to Sisters was delightful.  The town is charming with very friendly people.  We chatted with several shopkeepers and other locals who all shared that "we would just love it there!"  After seeing all that the town had to offer (tiny is putting it mildly!) we drove all around the "neighborhoods".  What a miss-mosh of styles.  Everything from trash to treasure...all on one street!  Sisters is only 2100 population, so not much wiggle room there.  Actually, we felt it was a bit too small for us.  Sweet place to visit tho.

From there we went to Bend.  Nice place to be "near".  To big, to much like every other big town, anywhere, and as Jack said, "still to far north and to cold".  So we continued on south.  We have a friend in Redmond, so we stayed there a couple of days to visit with her, checking that area out as well.  We asked her what she thought of the area and what she's seen so far (she's only been there 6 months) coming from Houston and before from San Diego, so she's had some good comparisons. She suggested Jacksonville that is near Ashland where we were headed next.

We had visited Ashland before, but wanted to see if it had changed much. It hasn't.  It has all that a small college town has to offer.  Jacksonville, on the other hand was a wonderful surprise!  It is smaller than Ashland, with a different personality.  Hard to describe, a bit more cosmopolitan, perhaps.  We really liked it.  A definite possibility.

One thing is for sure...a (stick/stucco) house is not (the only) home...For now, our house is our sweet motor home...and that's ok.
Hwy 140 Through Cascade Mountains

Ashland OR

Jacksonville OR

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can on my Flickr account at:

...on the road in Oregon,   Marie

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Family.  Everyone's got one and every family has it's "characters".

This is the first year, in many, many years, I have had the blessing to be with my family (in Washington vs in San Diego) for Thanksgiving.  My memories of such, were filled with scenes of lots of us cooking together, laughing, playing games and telling stories...something I was looking forward to again.  Some look upon it as chaotic and noisy, but for me, it's pure joy.  Time spent with special people I love.

Another thing I love about Thanksgiving is the food!  Both Jack and I love all the various parts of what is traditionally Thanksgiving Dinner.  Yum!  There's never enough room in my stomach to hold all that I want to savor...but there's always the "leftovers" that are just as good, if not better, the next day.  ;-)  We got to have two of them, as the family here is so large (and some had to work on Thanksgiving) that we celebrated on Thursday AND on Saturday!  Lucky us!

This year's gatherings were the same and yet different.  The same fun loving, noisy group - but older.  All my nieces and nephews are now grown with families of their own.  The teasing and playfulness gave way to a more sedate social style filled with different stories and laughter.  The house now filled with their children teasing and playing together. My sisters and I now leaving a lot of the "work" to the younger ones and their style of putting all of it together.  

As I walked around, watching and listening (aka as taking pictures) to everyone catching up on one another, I still heard the love.  Diverse backgrounds and interests, but with that common thread of love and caring.

Being surrounded by all of this, I was fed.  I have had the joy of spending independent time with each of them these past few weeks and have loved every minute of it.  I've met great-nieces and nephews, some for the first time, seeing their beautiful family resemblances and hearing about their interests.

And we too have the "characters", but isn't that half the fun?  I remember the old days when there was always someone who drank to much or got in a disagreement, but  today it seems more innocent with piercings, colored hair, tattoos and the explanations of why odd jobs vs going back to school.  All taken in stride it seemed or maybe we've all just mellowed.

This year brings new memories to cherish and remember.  New, but with the same joy.
It truly was a very Happy Thanksgiving.

...kicking back in Tacoma,   Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at: