Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Mailboat/Jetboat trip

It was a cold and foggy morning - 8 AM - when we left Gold Beach for our Mailboat trip up the Rogue River. Here, we just left the dock and are headed towards the ocean - before turning up the river. You can tell that people are bundled up pretty well - our "driver", Jon, even handed out wool blankets.
When we broke out of the fog, it warmed up quite a bit. Here are some live oak (as opposed to "dead" oak?) trees on the hillsideWe were able to see a lot of wildlife - harbor seals, bald eagles, osprey, even "Rogue River moose" (cows...) Here is a blue heron that posed for us.
We were able to see a little white water. Jon did several rapids more than once to get us good and wet. We sat at the very back of the boat - in my opinion, the best place. We were able to talk to Jon and get more tidbits of information and the seats are slightly elevated, so the view was pretty good. But the BEST part was that we could stand up for the white water, which made it even more fun. I didn't want to get my camera wet, so this is the only photo I took - not very big rapids, but it was fun.
We stopped for lunch at the little town of Agness. The Rogue sometimes "overflows" it's banks during spring runoff - actually, it ALWAYS does. But back in 1964, there was a warm spell during December which wreaked havoc on the area. A new bridge had just been built over the Illinois River where it flows into the Rogue - it was washed out. There was a suspension bridge to the town of Agness - it washed out - which means you now have to go upriver about 4 miles, then cross ANOTHER new bridge and down a narrow windy road to the town, because "they" decided to not build another bridge. And this wasn't even a "bridge to nowhere"........... The high water marks for various years are indicated on signs on the trees visible as you walk up the path to the Singing Springs Resort which is nestled in the trees in the photo below. The high water mark for 1964 is on top of the roof of the cafe - at the bottom of the arrow. Now, that's some high water!This is Jim and Janet and our driver/guide, Jon.
Jon pointed out many things on the trip, but of particular interest was this section of the river which had a natural "sluice box" in the rocks. Evidently, miners in the early days got quite a bit of gold from the cracks between the rocks. I was on the wrong side of the boat to get a good picture, but hope you can get the idea in the photo below.
On the way back down the river, we finally got to see the otters playing in the sand on the river back. When we pulled over, they scampered to the left and disappeared under some rocks, but I got a couple decent photos - even one in mid-jump!We enjoyed the trip, but it made Janet and I wanting a real whitewater rafting trip. Maybe next year....... From Gold Beach, we went up the coast to Bandon and stayed in a campground with hookups for a night to charge the batteries and take care of all those trailer things (dump and fill) From there, it was over to Roseburg and I5 and the previous post.
The next post will be from the Chetco River out of Brookings.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Let's start at the..........end

It would take me days to get all the photos ready to post, so I'm going to begin at the end of the trip and work backwards. I'll post the earlier photos and captions a few days at a time.
On our way home, we decided to take the highway out of Canyonville (Hwy 227) that cuts down to the Rogue River Hwy (Hwy 62) rather than go all the way to Medford on I5. We asked at the gas station what the road situation was regarding the fires in the area, which is why we were taking the road out of Canyonville. There was a sign on the road indicating that the "Tiller Trail" road was closed, but figured it was a backroad and didn't concern us. It wasn't till quite a while later that I saw a sign indicating that Hwy 227 and "Tiller Trail" were the same thing! My Oregon map certainly didn't call it anything but Hwy 227. So, rather than backtrack many, many miles, we decided to go on and see what was up. As it was, it was a good thing that we did, because the road was NOT closed and we continued on our merry way to Hwy 62. The map is kinda small, but you can get the idea.
When we got to Hwy 62, we could clearly see that there were several fires in the area and pulled over so I could take this photo. It was a rather dramatic sight. There was another fire behind us and we passed a large fire camp and saw a chopper with a bucket headed to the reservoir to get water. It was about 2 in the afternoon and the fire was really boiling.
We were headed to a favorite site on the Rogue River, but it had been several years since we were last there, so took the "long and scenic way" to get there. Interesting back roads........

The perfect ending to our trip - at our favorite, secret place on the Rogue River, near Crater Lake. We first found this spot when we took a week before my breast cancer surgery in '97. We have been there twice since - whenever we have been in the area - and it is still a very special place. This is the view out my kitchen window.
We could see and smell the smoke - from the camp site - these are not clouds! We thought we could see ash falling and that was confirmed as it was visible on the truck.Dean is relaxing by the river. Photo taken from the door of the trailer. More relaxing............. Listening to satelite radio - Rachel Maddow.
I'm picking on Dean - this is a rare scene - he is reading the directions for his metal detector!!
Looking for gold in the Rogue - unfortunately, it isn't to be found in this part of the river.The river is soooo nice here. Abby learned to swim (finally!) on this trip. She didn't get out in the current here, but was enjoying playing "stick". She would get out in the water and get it, but then chew on it for a few minutes, then leave it in the water and come back for me to throw another one. Must be old age - she keeps forgetting what she went out there for.......
She did have fun! Playing in the water and the sand - and then coming in the trailer and when I said to stay off the couch - guess where she immediately went? It's a good thing that I cover it with an old sheet. But I had just "cleaned house" that morning!!!

So, the next morning, we packed up and headed home. A good trip - relaxing, saw some neat stuff, and just hung out. Our kind of camping!
When we got home, it was incredibly smokey and warm and humid - rare for our part of the state - the humid part, I mean. It rained over night and has been partly to mostly cloudy since.
Spent the last few days unpacking, doing laundry, yard work, and catching up on the computer.
I will post more trip stuff in the next few days.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This is kinda sad............

for me, anyway. I've really got into this blog thing and keeping fairly often......
So, we're off for another adventure and I won't be around for a few weeks, maybe. If I get a chance to post on the road, I will, but not too likely.
Today was another nice Central Oregon kind of day. A little cloudy in the morning, then turning of sunny for the remainder of the day. I did a few last loads of laundry and was able to hang it outside, so that made me happy. I covered the tender plants again last night, but they didn't need it as it only got down to the low 40's. Picked the zucchinis for the trip, but nothing else coming on, yet. The corn will probably be wonderful while we're gone :(

I was thinking about what to leave you with to ponder while I was gone. I remembered this, from NPR - Morning Edition, December 18, 2006. The feature, This I Believe, chronicles the contributions of listeners in a variety of ways. This is how I was first introduced to Fr Richard Rohr, who I was lucky enough to see and hear in person last year. This is an amazing man, so I invite you to "google" his name and learn more.

Utterly Humbled by Mystery
By Richard Rohr
I believe in mystery and multiplicity. To religious believers this may sound almost pagan. But I don't think so. My very belief and experience of a loving and endlessly creative God has led me to trust in both.
I've had the good fortune of teaching and preaching across much of the globe, while also struggling to make sense of my experience in my own tiny world. This life journey has led me to love mystery and not feel the need to change it or make it un-mysterious. This has put me at odds with many other believers I know who seem to need explanations for everything.
Religious belief has made me comfortable with ambiguity. "Hints and guesses," as T.S. Eliot would say. I often spend the season of Lent in a hermitage, where I live alone for the whole 40 days. The more I am alone with the Alone, the more I surrender to ambivalence, to happy contradictions and seeming inconsistencies in myself and almost everything else, including God. Paradoxes don't scare me anymore.
When I was young, I couldn't tolerate such ambiguity. My education had trained me to have a lust for answers and explanations. Now, at age 63, it's all quite different. I no longer believe this is a quid pro quo universe -- I've counseled too many prisoners, worked with too many failed marriages, faced my own dilemmas too many times and been loved gratuitously after too many failures.
Whenever I think there's a perfect pattern, further reading and study reveal an exception. Whenever I want to say "only" or "always," someone or something proves me wrong. My scientist friends have come up with things like "principles of uncertainty" and dark holes. They're willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories. But many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of "faith"! How strange that the very word "faith" has come to mean its exact opposite.
People who have really met the Holy are always humble. It's the people who don't know who usually pretend that they do. People who've had any genuine spiritual experience always know they don't know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind. It is a litmus test for authentic God experience, and is -- quite sadly -- absent from much of our religious conversation today. My belief and comfort is in the depths of Mystery, which should be the very task of religion.

Blessings, my friends, until we meet again - in a few weeks. Comments welcome (and appreciated.....)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Movin' to Vegas!

Not really, but I got your attention!
Saturday night, we were down at "the Hole" dealing blackjack for the Lions club fund raiser Casino Night. What a blast! I had sooo much fun and quite got into the whole facade. By the end of the evening, I was giving away "funny money" so people could bid on the auction items that were donated by local businesses and people. Some things were going for $500,000 and up - having been dealing almost all night, I didn't have that kind of money, though, so gave mine away, too. The place was really crowded - we could have had another half dozen tables. They also had craps and texas hold 'em, but most were around the blackjack tables. It was a rare late night for us and I slept in on Sunday, for sure! Sure do wish I had thought to take my camera along for some crowd shots.
Sunday AM, after I finally got up........Dean went up to get the paper while I fixed some, er, brunch, and ran into neighbor, Bill who told him there was a breakfast going on at the fire hall, so we decided to go down there and support the volunteers and I'm glad we did - their feed was a lot better than what I was fixing! Egg, cheese and potato casserole, huge sausages, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, fruit, etc. My, my - just what my body needed - lots of carbs and protein.
Had to cover the tenders in the garden last night as it got down to freezing. There really are some green tomatoes on the plants, so didn't want to lose them, or the zucchini or basil. The rest of the stuff - who cares! As it was, everything came through it just fine.
We're packing up for the next big adventure - Dean and Jim going on a gold expedition down in Southwestern Oregon. Us gals are going to veg out for a few days! Packing up is always such a deal. Dean is cleaning the truck - must not go on the road with a dirty truck! I'm just packing. We're looking forward to a short visit from sister Karen tomorrow on her way to her yearly camping vacation with her long time bff Nora. They go out to Tumalo State Park and have a great time. We're usually at church camp over Labor Day weekend, so miss seeing her. This year, it will be all too brief.
Speaking of church camp, I'm really anxious to hear how the synchro swimming "talent" was............... I sure did miss being there with y'all!