Shore Acres at Coos Bay, OR

It is another typical coastal Oregon morning, cool with a heavy drizzle. Yesterday we visited Shore Acres, about a half-mile up the road from our campsite at Sunset Bay.

The first home at Shore Acres was designed as a summer retreat, which Louie Simpson had built as a Christmas present for his first wife, Cassie. Built on a rocky headland, the gamble-roofed house sat seventy-five feet about the waves below. It was built in 1906, but the gardens that grew and thrived to this day are what bring visitors from all over the world.

There is a beautiful Japanese garden with a lily pond and 2 stately crane statues standing knee deep in the reflective water. The rocks that border the pond were hauled up from the beach below by horses. That must have been really difficult for the horses. They are very rough, ragged rocks and are very heavy. The rose gardens are spectacular though and one particular rose called: hot chocolate was as breathtaking in color and form as well as having a deep, rich, rose scent. You can walk down to the beach along a paved pathway and can then ascend back up into a forest dense with Monterey Cypress and pines.

The shoreline is rugged with finely ground sand and seals, sea lions and elephant seals bask among the jagged rocks. The fog had rolled in densely as we explored, so you could barely see the marine animals, but you could sure hear them barking away in the mist.

Back in the gardens, I of course took many photographs of the flowers and the lighting was perfect for photography- bright diffused light with little shadow. The garden was designed in the English style by David Masterton and visitors of the neighboring households of the time, were given cuttings and plants to beautify their gardens too!

Today we are heading back over to have the RV windshield either replaced or repaired and when finished, we will possibly meander toward Newport.

Callie is doing very well and her health is on the mend. The three of us are enjoying our travels with Callie adventure and looking forward to many more to come. I have to admit that I was becoming very concerned with Callie's health after 4 months of coughing and am so relieved that she is feeling better…..

Mountain Lion Sighting at Big Lagoon

When Callie and I went on our morning walk, we decided to examine the sign about the mountain lion sighting at Big Lagoon in Trinidad, California. It apparently was all the way back in June, but the signs are everywhere.

Mountain lions are rare along the coast and I can only imagine the poor, lone lion trying to eek out a territory and finding enough to eat. It really breaks my heart how difficult it is for large predators to find a way to survive with humans as neighbors. We take over everything and expect them to keep their distance and stay invisible.

I am not sure what the solution is, and I wouldn't want to run into a mountain lion at dawn or dusk, but my sympathies lie with the mountain lion.

Callie had a fun walk this morning and gathers a crowd wherever she goes. People want to share with me their cat stories and most want to know how I was able to train her to walk on the leash! It took awhile and I always suggest that you start the training by leaving the harness on for longer and longer periods of time. Once they get use to the harness, attempt to follow them around with the leash. Eventually they get the hang of it if all goes well. Not all cats are suitable for leash walking though. They have to be very curious and trust that you will take care of them if trouble arises. Callie knows I would do everything in my power to keep her safe….







Day 2 of Silver Lake

The roar of the waterfalls lulled me to sleep last night while I fretted about the bag of trash that Michael refused to take to the dumpster! He doesn’t want to waste a half full trash bag and I agree, but I don’t want a bear ripping out a side window to get to the garbage either. There are bear postings everywhere. I woke up to the sound of the waterfall roaring and a bear did not come a scavenging during the night!

Callie coughed again last night and we think it was because of the air conditioner. If that is the case, it could very well be asthma again as the default diagnosis for her ongoing health problems. She is feeling fine today and we went on a morning walk and she got to hang out on the picnic table and watch the ground squirrels argue about their territorial disputes, and the deer tiptoe ever so elegantly in search of food.

Silver Lake Resort RV Park is wonderful and we are very pleased with our location. Due to the overwhelming amount of water flooding out a lot of the campsites, only those with reservations can stay. We are going to move a couple miles down the road to a day use facility called: Aerie Crag- an original founder of the Lake site camping in 1916, that will be allowing RV’s to camp overnight. There will not be any hookups and I would be surprised if I will have phone service. We can bike into town everyday and I will post photos and write if I so desire. If it isn’t too hot, we may try to stay for at least 5 days or through the weekend. Because of the flooding everywhere, including Yosemite, campgrounds are filled up and reservations that were made a year ago, honored first. There are no first come first serve availability at this time.

We went on a bike ride this morning and are amazed at all the water. Silver Lake is filled to capacity and the overflow has flooded out neighborhood cabins and driveways. The California drought is officially over in this area. I bet there will be a huge mosquito problem in a couple of weeks if the temperature stays warm. There is a lot of stagnant water lying around and they are already starting to buzz around when I stop to take photographs. Wild Iris blooms are everywhere and the scent of sage and pine fill the air with a wonderful outdoor scent.

It will be another warm day and I hear it will hit 101 in Oceanside, California where Fred lives. It will be 86 here….








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Badge of Honor

I am gaining much more respect for trail biking! I have bruises between my thighs from braking hard and jumping off of the seat in order to prevent myself from crashing. I have discovered that you cannot use your front brake when you hit deep sand because you will go over the handlebars lickity split! Fortunately for me, I have been a horse back rider all of my life, so the urge to bail before I get into trouble is an immediate reaction to the first sign of danger! One must know their limitations, and in most cases, I most certainly do. I haven’t taken a nasty fall yet, but can only imagine not if, but when. It seems totally inevitable, so I brought along bandages and my trusty bandana just in case I loose a limb, break an arm, or worse, sever an artery or vein and bleed to death. I imagine head bashing is another thing to worry about, so we both wear helmets. You can see where the younger generation does stump jumping and rock bouncing and they must be able to become totally air born. I won’t ever get to that level of sportsmanship, but I did go over an embankment and land in one piece and I consider myself lucky. You also have to lean back and straddle the saddle with your thighs when going downhill and into deep sand, and that is a talent I am very good at. I have always had powerful thighs and Michael can attest to that, so my thighs have been a big help to me. That is also the reason why I have bruises between my legs. When I am convinced I am going to crash, I jump down with both legs to keep from falling over! When I land hard, I stop myself by planting both feet firmly on the ground and this bangs the bike frame into my thighs. Better that then landing in a broken heap.  No shame in that! So, bruises between my legs at 61 years of age is a badge of honor, and I shall take it as a compliment to my level of skill at staying out of trouble. I am also having a little more difficulty with crossing my legs!:)

Callie woke up to birds singing and enjoyed watching them flit about outside the window. She loves RVing and I am so proud of her for being such a good sport. I made Michael a nice Father’s Day Breakfast and now that our bike ride is finished, we are going to have lunch and possibly walk into town for dinner tonight to celebrate. We may go to Lundy Canyon or Convict Lake tomorrow. Not sure which direction to go in as of yet, but staying out of the heat is a deciding factor. Fred made it safely home after a disastrous tire blow out near Indio and we hope he recovers from his big adventure as soon as possible. He attempted to travel with a fractured ankle and it was too much for him. Rest up Fred and get on that new awesome, Stumpjumper bike. 

Happy Father’s Day to all the good men out there raising children. The world needs good parents!







Napili Point-Maui

It will be two weeks tomorrow since we dropped Callie off at Holiday Pet Hotel. It is never easy for me to have her boarded, but there comes a time when I have to go to Maui and Callie would not fit in well here. There is a fairly busy road in front of the condo and the birds that hang out in the front lanai would drive her crazy. So, I get a well deserved break from her and Callie from me. Holiday Pet Hotel is a fabulous facility though, and I recommend it highly to anyone living in the San Diego area that needs to board their pet. 

Napili Point is on the north side of Maui and the complex looks out at Molokai and to the west. Napili is much like Encinitas, California in that it is a sleepy little town that boarders on funky. Napili Point is magical and our condo sits a little away from the ocean but has privacy and a feeling that you are separate from the tourists. This morning we watched the moon set over the water before the sun rose and it was a beautiful sight to behold. 

The flowers in the tropics are like no other and the Red Crested Cardinal, a cheeky little bird, would fly over to beg for tidbits. Maui is renowned for it’s rainbows and I have seen several on this trip alone. We had record rainfall and Maui needs rain just like California. I haven’t minded the rain at all because of living in the desert. How fortunate I am to have two such extreme locations to visit and live in.

We return to Anza Borrego on Friday and I am very excited to see Callie again. Holiday Pet Hotel says she is doing fine and they enjoy her visits with them. I am sure that Callie is making the best of her situation, developing friendships and being a happy, cheerful cat. That is just who Callie is…

A Retrospective on Anza Borrego

Here I am in Maui and it is raining steadily and I am writing about Anza Borrego. Now don’t get me wrong, I am loving the rain and it is the perfect envioronment for reminiscing about the hot and arid desert. When I am in Anza Borrego, I either cycle or hike and most of these photographs were taken while doing both. The lighting in the desert is like no other, the background appears flat as if it were cut out and pasted far away and the shadows are sharp, crisp and well defined. When the desert is fortunate to receive enough rainfall, you are given the gift of wildflowers in the spring. Nothing is taken for granted in the desert and what little water falls from the sky, determines what events will unfold later on. This past spring we had enough rainfall to merit a decent display of flowers. It is a photographer’s dream. The season doesn’t last long because the insects that feed on the flowers are prolific and the birds that feed on the insects, voracious and the cycle of life is played out in fast forward mode. What little time is available is used with an efficiency like no other place on the planet.

Ruby Tuesday

Before we moved to Borrego Springs, we lived on the coast in Southern California, and Callie wanted my protection whenever she would go for a walk. I would leave the front window cracked open so that she could explore the gardens during the day, but something happened that made her afraid to go out by herself. I think it was a big, black and white tom cat that would give her a hard time whenever he laid eyes on her. One day we were out walking and she ran past me in a blind panic with the tom cat right on her tail, and I had to chase after them and smack the cat on the butt to tell him to leave her alone! The look on his face was priceless because you could tell he was totally smitten by her and couldn’t understand why I had yelled at him. Needless to say,  I had to keep a close eye out for him whenever we went for our walk because Callie was aftraid of him. Every morning and late afternoon, Callie would circle around me and ask to go out for a walk and we would take a tour of the gardens. She loved the coral trees and would climb up several of them and then hop up onto the wooden rail that bordered the complex so that she could make her daily rounds. Her favorite friend to visit was a beautiful, gentle and kind, golden-doodle named, Ruby. I think the feeling was mutual and whenever they would cross paths, they would touch noses and Ruby would try to follow her back home. Callie must have been raised with a dog in her early upbringing because she is not afraid of dogs at all. But that is exactly what I am afraid of in the desert because I think she would let a coyote come right up to her. She loves dogs but can’t stand the sight of a cat. So, Callie and I would take our walk together with her in the lead and me following close behind and when we would get to the gardens, she would sit back and watch me take photographs of all the beautiful flowers. Ruby would then come out to join us and we would have a little social hour. I miss those walks because Callie could socialize with Ruby and could walk free and in the desert I have to keep her on a leash. Callie and I would also sit outside on the balcony to watch the beautiful sunsets every evening and it would be so fun to listen to Ruby playing down below with her owner, Steve and his young son, Max. I believe one of Max’s first words were kitty-kitty and his face would light up whenever he saw Callie peering over the balcony edge. The sunsets were spectacular with the roar of the crashing of waves and the colors that intensified as the sun dipped into the ocean. Those days are behind me now, but the desert has its own stark beauty and the trade off is that I am surrounded by a quiet serenity that you can only find in the desert. How fortunate for me that I have had the opportunity to experience both…


August 6: Point Defiance-Tacoma, Washington

Point Defiance Park and the walk out to the actual point along the shoreline was one of the highlights of our trip. It was a beautiful day and there were many families milling about and enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. The botanical gardens were filled with flowers, “and, as a photographer,” I was in my element. I love taking photographs of bees pollinating flowers and I had an abundance of subject matter. It was a lovely day and we spent most of the time smelling roses and taking pictures. When we were packing up to head out that morning, Callie  would not come out from under the bed and we had a good laugh over just how tired she was. It was a new form of expression and defiance for her. And it was  clearly a, “NO”… We repeatedly asked her if she wanted to go, but she stayed under the bed and refused to come out.  After we left I had to run back to the room because I had forgotten something and she was happily stretched out on the bed not five minutes after we had shut the door. This habit of crawling under the bed became the norm if we tired her out too much. She had a say in whether she wanted to go on an adventure, or sleep the day away and torture us that evening.

Point Defiance