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…..

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