img_20180723_063227-1July 23 thru August 3, 2018 Superb night. Even though there are a bunch of campers in RVs, it was super quiet through the night; no generators whirring or TV jibberish. Awesome! This morning, birds are singing and cows moo’ing, people in fold-out chairs sipping coffee and reading papers, couple kids playing around the park and one walking her dog. It’s such a chill scene, not sure I’m ready to go!

img_20180723_074829-1Packed camp, enjoyed an avocado and yogurt breakfast, threw a few horseshoes and took a walk around the property. This would be an incredible place to stay a few days, if not a week or two. It’s a family-owned 5,000-acre working cattle ranch with all kinds of things to do (e.g. hiking, biking, fishing, bird-watching). There’s definitely wildlife! This morning, big, beautiful butterflies converged on garden flowers.

Checked the news for fire updates, in and around Oregon. My plan to visit Crater Lake National Park, before heading to Medford, was a no-go. Best shot is to stay on 140. Hung out in the covered area, as an older man and fellow-camper played the piano beautifully. Such a sweet way to start the day! Passed cows huddled under the shade of trees on way out; lots of babies. All looked happy!img_20180723_092633-1

Just a few minutes after my tires merged on the  highway, I came across Booth Wayside (Booth State Scenic Corridor) with picnic areas and vault toilets (no overnight camping). Drove across Quartz Mountain Pass (5,500′), which has incredible views of the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Construction limited stops for pictures, or stretches, and the air was hazy. I drove into Beatty and stopped in the Palomino Mart for a deli sandwich, fruit and ice.

Around Bly Mountain Pass (5,100′), driving into Dairy, the smell of smoke intensified and the haze thickened to a light fog. The triple digit heat wasn’t helping. In Klamath Falls, that light fog morphed! While filling up ($3.15/gal) at the most affordable station in town according to GasBuddy, trying not to suck in the air, I noticed lots of people wearing face masks. Smart! It was definitely not a good time for a hike, much less a walk to explore. I got back in the truck and on the road, with windows up and a/c on.

I caught updates on the radio about fires across Oregon and California. WTF?! Smoke interfering with my road trip was NOTHING to the horror of humans and wildlife fleeing for their lives. I drove through Southside Bypass I-40 into Medford, the same day southern Oregon was declared with the worst air quality in the Nation. Nine major wildfires across the region were sending thick smoke into the Rogue Valley. If these fires were caused on purpose by shitty people, I hope they’re caught and dropped off far away from any form of life, with the exception of winged insects that sting and bite. Too easy, change that! I hope they’re caught and forced into life-long servitude to support nature, wildlife and people effected by their devastating asshole-ness!

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img_3825Squeezed Tracy and Sam, unloaded, sautéed veggies and relaxed. So glad to be there, with them and inside with a/c, away from the smoke. So happy to be here!

Slept through to 0800. Ahhh! Tracy’s bed was a cloud. Joel was at camp when I arrived and Trace had yard sale plans for all of the first weekend, which was a big success. Each morning, I cleaned off a layer of ash from everything. So smoky! Outside is not enjoyable. I scored some clothes Tracy was getting rid of. We talked a lot, especially about plans she has for the house. The renovated bathroom looks incredible with soak-tub. We ran a few errands, including drop off of items Tracy sold at a house with no grass in the yard, just a jumbled wildflower mix. This is what I want!img_20180724_154148

She treated me to The Co-op’s all organic buffet, where had the most incredible spicy lentil soup! Boxed up the leftovers and went by WinCo for Bing cherries, cottage cheese, a mango, mozzarella and jalapeños of course.

Washed clothes and pulled out items for donation. After consolidating my tubs, all pants, shorts, tops and skirts fit in one tub. Woohoo! Love how it feels to down-size and it seems to be a constant thing for me. I accumulate, clean out, repeat. The other tub now has cold weather stuff. I found a few new things in a Goodwill visit. Ha!

Watched “Jaws” with Sam, his first time seeing it. I think he might have been a bit bored, but I loved seeing it again! While Tracy drove to Ashland, I was able to take pictures and video of the usually beautiful, currently very smoky, terrain.img_20180731_093635

Had my first visit to Black Bird Shopping Center, which sells just about anything and everything for outdoor enthusiasts and more. I talked with their Mynah bird that I wanted to set free, got a life jacket and goggles (Jr. by accident), while Tracy exchanged a camp-stove and also got life jackets.

img_20180727_134702Gabe and Tink, her lovable fur-babies, kept me entertained. This giant beanbag was their domain, like a hilltop, where they snoozed, played and chewed toys, until it went to someone else’s home. New, almost white furniture was moved in and keeping them off of it was a joke. When no-one was looking, or around, on the couch and chair they went. Covers and even a small table were added at night, to block access. Didn’t work. I think they need their beanbag back!

I added to entertainment at one point when I tripped over a table leg and fell on the living room floor, smashing my Yeti cup into my face. Hurt like hell and bit of blood, but no bones broken and Yeti untarnished. Yea!

Barb, Tracy’s neighbor and tenant, was adorable and made us the most divine scones during my visit. These are the cranberry-orange zest and blueberry-lemon.

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Tracy had some of Brittany’s old clothes and I was thrilled to fit them. I started this journey in April at size 12-14; these pants are an 8. Hell yeah! I’ve noticed I’m totally losing my bootie, which was huge, so guess I should be happy it’s not now. Must increase exercise to address the flabby. Trace thoughtfully added me to her YMCA account, so I could swim or workout any time. I swam there once with Joel. Shame on me!

On Thursday, Tracy, Joel and I went to Farmer’s Market at Hawthorne Park. It was the first time I’d seen an outdoor workout circuit in a park. There were lots of vendors with organic goodies. I tried and loved the radish kimchi, which I bought immediately. We got plump tomatoes, spicy salsa and crunchy biscotti, as well as red wigglers (worms) for Tracy’s compost bins. Her tamale was tasty and flowers for sell at several booths were gorgeous!

Enjoyed my first trip to a trampoline park, Rogue Air, and it was f*ing amazing! Watching Joel and other kids jump and bounce across and over foam covered obstacles was incredible. For $10/hr (Mon-Thu), it’s not a bad deal for full-blown wear-their-ass-out jump activity. I quickly snapped photos without kiddos.

img_20180803_091409This was Tracy adding the red wigglers to compost bin. Hope they’ve been doing their job, breaking it down.

Talked to Matthew who was driving to Dallas from San Diego with Barcari and Lindsey. Glad he wasn’t doing it alone since it’s a long drive, but also believe it’d be a good experience if he did.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the wild turkeys in the neighborhood kick Tracy’s mulch pile around. Hell with physical labor, shoveling and spreading. Get turkeys!img_20180803_181255

Received message about the passing of JoAnn. Not sure how or if I can be of assistance, but I made flight arrangements. We took Tracy’s SUV in for new A/C compressor. After pickup, she went thru the carwash and we bought vac’d our vehicles. Got packed up for flight, along with online check-in and printout of boarding pass. Michael called from Vinson Valley Crowe’s Picnic event where he and kids were having a blast; Nicole was in class. He was scheduled for back procedure following Monday for nerve injections at spinal area to trace issue with scan.

 

 

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