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Road Trip with a Side of a Patty Melt.

4 Aug

For our 7 year anniversary, (this past June, yeah I procrastinate!) James had planned a travel down the Oregon coast, something I’ve been telling him he has to see for years now, for a 3 night camping trip. We dusted off our gear, (it had been way to long since the last time we camped,) planned and prepared the menu and loaded up the truck and dogs. We left early as the campsite was a 6 1/2 hour drive, and a beautiful day and drive it was.

Then, this happened. What should be a Yelp review (but won’t) is coming your way. It took about an hour longer than we’d planned when we stopped for a quick bite and beer at a dog friendly restaurant in Newport, OR. Found it on the BringFido app and it was at a Rouge Brewing Co. restaurant, and, being a well established name it had to be good, right? Wrong!!

We lucked out and found a parking spot right next to the patio, where I presume we’ll be sitting with the pups, πŸ‘πŸ»we were told to seat ourselves with a heads up that the food might take around 30 mins. That’s cool, I appreciate the knowing what I’m getting myself into. Unfamiliar with the area, and again, a well known name, we accepted it. Then 5 mins passed, 10, maybe 15 until we actually were greeted by our server. And as a person well versed of the industry myself I know how customers can TOTALLY over exaggerate a time frame. I assure you I am not. Now, “why didn’t you just leave?” you may be thinking. It’s a 3 fold response. 1, dogs. 2, wanting our truck, full of monies worth of camping gear and foods within eyesight βœ”οΈ. 3, small town, small roads, big truck (see reason #2). So we wait, every few mins saying, “Let’s just wait another minute and we’ll leave.” Alas, there she is!! She was apologetic so that’s cool, even though I’d seen her at the table across from us, twice, we are fully ready with our order (hoping it would expedite our departure as we still have almost 3 hours of driving,) and then proceeded to wait for our beers. We are now maybe 30+mins in. Me trying to make small talk when drinks finally come, “Wow you guys are pretty busy!” Her response, “Not Really” Really! Over 30 mins for a beer. Not Really!!?? Then another 30 mins pass, still no food. We’re sharing a fucking patty melt people! So, we order another round. When that round finally comes she says, “I have some interesting news and some good news. Which do you want first?” Interesting, bc well, I’m interested to hear any form of explanation. Turns out Mike took our sandwich to the wrong table and they’d already started eating it so, they’re making another for us right now, and she told them to, “put a rush on it“. The good news is, this round was on her. Sweet πŸΊπŸ–•πŸ»! So that rush put on our food was just that. Use your own imagination on how good it was. Thus folks, this took an hour and 45 mins!!!!! I’ll be skipping on Rogue Brewing from now on.

Oh! Damnit! I almost skipped the best part. There was a solo bathroom for both men and women, BUT, there was no way to lock the door, that I could see in the women’s so I went to the men’s. Huh? Same mother fucking thing! So I ask an employee who’s right there, “How do I lock the bathroom door?” I shit you not his response is, “That’s a good question, I don’t really know?” Followed by, “I’m not sure if you can.” If I can?!! How do you not know the answer? How has this never come up before? And is that even legal?!!!

Now that my rant is done and I hope you’re still reading, (sorry but it really was an experience that I felt I had to share, I mean, yeah,) we’re back on the road. The park. Sunset Bay.  Was beautiful! And the best part, no cell service. Nothing, nada, zilch, the whole time! I recommend taking yourselves somewhere similar, often. There was however, one way to make contact with the outside world, just in case. How many of you or people you know have never seen or used one of these!!!?? I picked it up just to hear the dial tone. (Also possibly something you or someone you know has no idea what that means or sounds like.)

Well, on the drive in, close to the park we passed a little corner store and there was a wheel barrow full of wood and a sign, “for sale.” Yeah, I made him turn around, those bundles they sell at the sites always burn faster as they rarely have any substantial sized logs. 20 bucks for the barrel, and nice cuts of logs. πŸ‘πŸ» Not positive the species but I know for damn sure that what we were burning here compared to camping in SD was in so many ways better! In SD the smoke was well, smokier, and when we’d get home it was straight up, everything in the garage-dogs get hosed down-strip naked-and get in the shower, smokier!! But this wood, none of that. Yeah there was still campfire smell but it was a happier kind. And when unloading our gear, dogs and own smelly beings at home, not that bad. Here our washer and dryer are in the house, in SD they were in the garage, so yeah, wood up here, unsurprisingly, trumps. No, wait, that’s not the right word. Maybe use, superior? Yep! That’s the one. Thanks to our unexpected “layover” we didn’t get settled in as early as we wanted, but we did. So by the time we’re ready to get that campfire going we’re teetering towards 8o’clock. Our little camping guidelines pamphlet we get says nothing about when fires must be out. Quiet time is at 10 but fires? When? So James goes to the host to inquire, and her answer is, none. “We can have a fire all night?”

“Yes, as long as you are quite and don’t disturb other campers.”

WHATTT??? Nice. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ”₯So we got lost in the flames and embers on a beautiful quiet night. Tomorrow. We walk! We were told there’s this amazing botanical garden at Shore Acres park, just a short hike away. Fuck yeah!! So we head off. Apparently in the wrong direction as we see no signs, and end up kicked off to the road. So we turn around and head back to camp to find our pathway out. When asking the first ranger we see where the path is her response is basically “yeah, the new camp host sn’t a fan of signs. I don’t know why.” Umm, I’m sorry, but how can you be a campground host and not be a fan of letting campers know where they’re going. In the wilderness. Where they haven’t been before? I mean, at least give us an arrow! βž°πŸ”œ But, we make our way and find the path, we did walk by the same outlook twice along the way, can’t possibly imagine how that happened, but the views were worth it!! Told you so James. 

We did find that botanical garden and of course they don’t allow dogs, understand why but, Damnit! So we had to take turns to walk through it. Which of course means, while walking through the most amazing rose garden I’ve ever seen, stopping to smell the roses loses a bit of it’s charm when the husband/dog hand-off is waiting for me. But smell I did. Totally worth it.As you know we bought a rehab property, which comes with all kinds of surprises. And whatever trees, shrubs and or plants that came with it were also part of that surprise, so we had no idea what they would look like come spring. Well there is a small rose bush in our front yard that, it seemed out of nowhere, produced this beautiful rose. I’d never seem one like this before and I beamed when I saw it out my bedroom window! Tada, this is it. It’s named Scentimental. And now when I stop and smell my roses, I know her name. It was a beautiful and peaceful few days. 
Fun’s over guys! We have a yard to get together.

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Where the Willows Meet the Stump Grinder.Β 

3 Aug

Now that the inside of the house is pretty much squared away it’s time to turn our attention to the outside. I could spend time telling you how un-kept this property was before we purchased it, but you really need visual aids. I’ll first add that in these before and after pics, you’ll notice quite a difference in the ground color so keep in mind that the befores were taken in Dec/Jan and the afters are during one of the driest summers we’ve had in years. We’ll tackle that lawn issue sometime soon, but as you’ll see, the overgrowth of trees and left behind stumps HAS to come first! We took a few cuttings of the branches to our local nursery and their best guess at the species was a sort of Willow tree, or tree-ezz. They have a very invasive root system and they had been having a fucking party in the backyard when no one was paying attention! Our neighbor told us that the city had came in after it was foreclosed on and cut down a slew of trees, just close enough above ground that if you don’t look down while walking there is an inevitable occurrence of profanity from whatever injuries or pissed off toe that transpires.

For this fun-time removal project we started from top to bottom. Smaller pieces, quicker clean up and less chance for crazy shit to happen. James started with his telescoping loppers, then came the chainsaw, then the dreaded stump grinder. There was a good 30 stumps that needed grinding and that’s about 30 more than you’ll ever want to have to use that beast of a machine on. Here’s something you won’t hear James say, “That beat the shit out of me!”​There was an added small handful of stumps and about 3 trees/bushes in the front yard we took down too, but I think you’ve got the gist of what we’re dealing with. 🌲 (I don’t know why the video isn’t playing with sound, I’m not very tech-y, but imagine a very intimidating/scary movie/chainsaw sound)βš™οΈπŸ˜΅

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​This happened for about 8 hours. 8 hours!! Followed by a couple truck loads to the dump of yard waste later, we can get on that landscaping!Remember kids, we’ll work on that dreaded brown ground later, but for now, the view of the clear blue sky just got better.

Star light. Star bright.

22 Dec

We sometimes forget to look up. Looking up is really where everything you have, want, or need is all wrapped up in a beautiful starry night, sunny day or cloudy afternoon. Looking up makes it all better. The days set our moods. The stars tell us where home is, if you look. 

Growing up in SE Alaska the sky literally was the limit. Abundant and hopeful. Breathtaking. My last year there was the only time I had lived by myself, and the only time since. I was 24 that winter and on clear nights I would just stand outside and look into the sky, the Big Dipper was like my compass in life then, right out my front door. Reliable. And lucky for me, seldom but still, the northern lights dancing. 
Those stars and lights are burned in my mind. Maybe its because there was no one on the other side of that door, that I took an extra second to look up before going in, I don’t know. But sometimes now, I forget to look up. 

When I moved to San Diego well, those starry nights weren’t always visible, they weren’t even a thought for some time. I remember when James and I first went camping, this was about a year and a half after I left Sitka, unfamiliar with this campsite the drive took us a little longer than expected, so we were basically setting up camp in the dark. Not fun. But there was this second, we were walking to the restrooms and there was a clearing and I happened to look up and there they were. All the stars that had been hiding from me. I instantly froze and gave him the mom stiff arm to stop and look up. We had driven 4,000 feet up but it burnt a memory in me, and every camping trip after that I’d make sure to look up. 

About 3 years later we bought our first home. It was maybe only 4 miles from where we had lived before but a much less busy area, not so surrounded by street lights. One evening, a few months after living in our home we were sitting on the front porch having a glass of wine and I looked up and there it was. The Big Dipper. I was a child at Christmas! All was right in my life. And since its not always easy to see stars in a city, I followed it whenever I could. I knew that around Christmas and New Years I could see it on a clear night from my favorite seat in the hot tub. 

Chapter ummm, does 3 sound right? We sold and moved out of our home in SD and have been rocking it in our trailer for almost 3 months now. Our time spent outside of said trailer is as follows; dogs, driving to see properties, dogs, showers, grocery/random errands, dogs, seeing properties, dogs. 

There have been beautiful, beautiful days we’ve looked up and took deep breaths and really felt we were going in the right direction. But these were days. The nights were all about the dogs, on the leash and keeping a light on them to make sure we picked up after them if needed so (don’t get me started on how many fucking piles of shit we’ve picked up that were not ours!! Piles!!) on that note, we were mostly looking down. 

Tonight I took the dogs out, with my light, following them, and for some reason I looked up, finally. And there it was, the Big Dipper. I don’t know why it to took me so long but I will try not to forget to look up. I recommend it to you as well.

 The sky and the stars will lead you home. Always.