Archive for the 'Caravans' Category

Wine Tasting Along the California Coast: June 12 – July 1, 2016

Philip J. Terhorst, 7/1/16

Leaving Home…

Saturday, June 11, 2016, dawned misty and overcast, just like it always does in June. After a few hours of final packing we were ready to go:

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We were heading to Santa Barbara for our rendezvous with 4 other intrepid Airstream couples to embark on 3 weeks of wine tasting along the California coast. After almost 6 hours of stop and go traffic from Irvine all the way past Santa Barbara we arrived at El Capitan State Beach and our campground – Ocean Mesa RV Resort. The next day we were joined by Steve and Yoshi Deiwert (NorCal Unit), John and Darlene Lintz (El Camino Unit), David and Mary Lawson (Central Coast California Unit), and our very own Steve and Jane Carmichael (South Coast California Unit). After we were set up, we had introductions all around and enjoyed the first of many “happy hours” together.

Santa Barbara… June 13

Our first day of wine tasting and sightseeing was “on your own”. Some of us went to the “Funk Zone” and “The Mill”, while others went to the pier. Wines we tasted were not remarkable, but we had a fine time strolling the beautiful City. We met up for a late lunch at Cold Spring Tavern, located, coincidentally, adjacent to the Cold Spring Bridge, in San Marcos Pass. This is an old stage coach stop that serves fine lunches and dinners in a very rustic atmosphere.

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This was a fun outing and a unique setting that we all enjoyed. Back at the campground we enjoyed another shared “happy hours” and readied our rigs for an early departure the next morning.

Los Olivos… June 14

Our next stop was unique in that we were “boondocking” or “dry camping” in the town of Los Olivos, just off the main street in an overflow parking lot. This enabled us to walk the town and choose from the 51 tasting rooms. At noon we all enjoyed Saarloos & Sons for wine tasting and listening to Keith Saarloos tell the story of their family vineyards and wine. Other tasting rooms visited were E11evin, Stolpman, Carrhart, and the Firestone Brewery. For dinner we all walked over to The Los Olivos Wine Merchant and Café (made famous in the Sideways movie) for a great dinner. It was nice to be able to enjoy the day without having to drive, and to have the Airstreams nearby to stop off for a bite of food or a nap between tastings. While the weather was quite warm, it got quite cool in the evening, so sleeping without AC was no problem.

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We thank the Saarloos family for allowing us to park on their property…

Buellton… June 15-17

Next morning we departed Los Olivos for a short drive to Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton. This is a very nice campground with excellent facilities. It was here that we learned about the Scherpa Fire outside Santa Barbara. The Ocean Mesa campground, along with three other campgrounds were closed and evacuated. The firefighters made their stand at the edges of the campgrounds so they were spared, but we were glad we had left the day before…

Using Flying Flags as a base, we were able to visit several wineries and even 2 distilleries, either as a group or “on our own”. The most notable:
Tantara: I have been buying Tantara wine as long as they have been in the Santa Ynez Valley, so we were able to arrange a private tasting at the Owner’s house… An added benefit: The wines were fabulous!

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Rusack: This tasting room has one of the nicest views in the valley. We picked up sandwiches at Panino In Los Olivos, had our tasting at Rusack, then adjourned with our wine purchases to the deck where we enjoyed Rusack wine, Panino sandwiches, and a great view!

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Other tasting rooms visited were Zaca Mesa, Alma Rosa, Foxen, Mosby, plus Ascendant Spirits (Breaker Bourbon) and Brothers Spirits. A side trip to the tiny town of Los Alamos allowed some wine tasting and antique shopping. We also visited the Farmers’ Market in Solvang to purchase food for the first potluck dinner. We even managed to have a few aebelskivers as dessert!

San Luis Obispo County… June 18-21

On our way to Avilla Beach KOA we drove into an industrial area of Santa Maria for another private tasting. Tantara has their facilities here, as do many other wineries that do not own their own facilities. Next door to Tantara are Challen Winery and Cotiere Wines. While we had already tasted Tantara, we found out that Challen Cates is the daughter of the founder and former owner of Tantara, Bill Cates. In addition, the same winemaker, Kevin Law, makes the wine for all three places, and they even use grapes from some of the same vineyards. Both Cotiere and Challen wines were very good, and many of us left with lighter wallets…

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Upon our arrival at the campground in Avilla Beach we discovered that on this very day the Avilla Beach Mac-N-Cheese-Fest was underway. Since none of us felt we could possibly eat $75 worth of Mac-N-Cheese we did not attend; however, we will revisit this topic later in the trip…

Highlights of the San Luis Obispo County wine region:

Dinner at Jocko’s: Santa Maria is famous for its oak-fired grilled tri-tips and other steaks. Jocko’s is quite an institution in the little town of Nipomo. It is basically a dive bar with two dining rooms featuring Costco tables and folding chairs, something you might find in a church social hall. But they do have a giant oak fired grill out back manned by expert grillers. We all had great meals and we all took leftovers home with us. An enjoyable time was had by all!

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Wine tasting: We visited Edna Valley Winery, Tesoro Estate Wines, Kynsi, Talley Vineyards, Cayucas Cellars, and Chamisal, where we enjoyed a picnic lunch on their patio from High Street Deli in San Luis Obispo.

Sightseeing: Side trips to the quaint towns of Morro Bay, Cayucas, Arroyo Grande, and Pismo Beach, plus a stop for lunch at Sidecar in San Luis Obispo (much changed from when I attended school here 45 years ago…) gave us a nice feel for the area.

Paso Robles… June 22-25

After departing Avilla Beach the caravan traveled further north, to Paso Robles. Here a special treat awaited us. We drove up to Record Family Wines and parked our Airstreams in the vineyards! (Well, some of us did. Due to an unseasonably hot week (106 degrees) some of the group opted to go to Wine Country RV Resort so that their dogs and cats would be more comfortable.)

We spent the afternoon trying to avoid the heat by going wine tasting. Adelaida and Opolo are both beautiful places, and we also enjoyed a light lunch at Opolo. (West side wineries have figured out that if customers have to go back to downtown Paso Robles for lunch they may never return, so many wineries in this remote area offer different food options.)

Arriving back at Record Family Wines in the late afternoon, we were joined by Nora Stapleton and her friend Bruce (South Coast California Unit) for the balance of the caravan.

The group (now twelve of us) gathered in the “barn” and were joined by several members of the Record family, We enjoyed a tasting of their limited production wines, then, wine glass in hand, we loaded ourselves onto a hay wagon pulled by a tractor (driven by the owner, Randy Record) for a tour of the 75 acres of vineyards.

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Following the hayride through the vineyards we were treated to hors d’oeuvres, more wine, and a BBQ dinner consisting of tri-tip, salad, grilled bread, vegetable side dishes, and Grandma Record’s blackberry cobbler for dessert. We give a huge “thank you” to the Record family for showing us this great hospitality!

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Next morning, after a peaceful sleep in the vineyards, we re-joined the others at Wine Country RV Resort. This was another day of wine tasting, this time at Cass (including a nice lunch) and Still Water, and a few other places. That evening we had another potluck dinner and recounted our various activities of the day.

Friday we set out again to the Templeton area, along West Hwy 46. Castoro has long been a favorite; then came Niner, where we had a nice lunch in their lovely restaurant adjacent to the tasting room, and Turley, famous for its Zinfandels.

The highlight of this day was another private tasting at Jack Creek Cellars. A few years ago Jack Creek closed its wine club to new members and closed its tasting room, because they wanted to remain small and they were running out of wine! Thus the sign as we pulled up to the gate:

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But I pulled some strings and they were waiting for us inside. Again, excellent wines and a fun time being treated as if we were special!

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After Jack Creek Cellars, we stopped by Grey Wolff and Barton Wineries for tasting. We will return here tomorrow when KroBar, their distillery, is open…

Friday night was the “last supper” for the full caravan. Deiwerts and Lintzes were leaving us at this point, and Carmichaels were leaving the next day – only Terhorst, Stapleton, and Lawson were continuing on for the final region. We had a nice supper together under the stars between the Airstreams and reminisced over the past two weeks of activities.

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On Saturday we visited Calcareous Winery, atop a very high hill on the Westside. Their winery was beautiful, their wines quite good, and their view was spectacular. Lunch was served by Thomas Hill Organics, a renowned restaurant in downtown Paso Robles.

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After Calcareous we stopped by KroBar, tasted a few sprits, and ate Mac-N-Cheese at their “Kitchen Window” – it had won the competition at the Mac-N-Cheese-Fest in Avilla Beach the week before!
Paso Robles has their version of Santa Barbara’s “Funk Zone” called Tim City. We did a little tasting (Levo and Benson), but the area is brand new and lacked much activity. (The 106 degree heat didn’t help!)

Monterey County… June 26 to July 1

The longest drive of the caravan (about three hours) brought us to Carmel Valley and the Carmel-By-The-River RV Park. A very small campground at the end of a very long one lane road snaking up the side of a mountain! (I had my doubts for a few moments…) But the facilities are quite nice and the three Airstreams were able to park side-by-side. It was also much cooler here – a nice change.

Our first full day outing was to Carmel Valley Village – another small town chock full of tasting rooms and restaurants. We visited Talbot, Boekenoogen, Bernardas, and Cima Colima. All the Pinot Noirs we tasted from the Santa Lucia Highlands were excellent! Lunch was at Roux Café and supper was a quiet potluck at the Airstreams.

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On Tuesday David and Nora drove to Pacific Grove to bike the 17 mile drive. (Bruce had left the night before to fly back home to work…) Phil, Lynda, and Mary (and the dogs) went in to Carmel to briefly stand on the beach (it was 61 degrees at noon in the middle of summer…) We tried three more tasting rooms in Carmel – Scheid, Manzoni, and Wrath. Again, all the Pinot Noirs from the Santa Lucia Highlands were excellent! Wrath even makes a Pinot using grapes from Boekenoogen’s vineyards – I predict a side-by-side tasting coming soon.

On Wednesday we took a long drive to Hollister to buy sandwiches at Victoria’s Italian Deli, then we drove up into the mountains to visit Calera Winery. The owners and winemaker searched for many years to find vineyards with limestone soils and a climate similar to the famed wine region of Burgundy. A special bonus was that Steve and Yoshi joined us, driving from their home in Sarasota. Welcome back! We had a great tasting, (more great Pinot Noirs) and afterwards we toured their caves, where they age their wines in a perfect cool and damp environment.

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Then we enjoyed our picnic lunch on the patio overlooking the hills…

Next stop was in Salinas, where we visited the Steinbeck Museum. The exhibits were very interesting to most of us…

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Upon our return to the campground we spotted another Airstream. It turned out to be Tim and Rebecca and their kids, on their way to Big Sur from Yosemite!

On our last full day we set off alone to visit Monterey. (David spent the entire day puttering around and repacking his truck…)

We hadn’t been to Monterey in many years, so we just drove through Pacific Grove and strolled Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf. Just a quiet day being tourists…

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Our final dinner for the caravan was at Café Rustica in Carmel Valley Village, where we enjoyed some good food and some Boekenoogen Pinot Noir. And an enjoyable time was had by all.

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July 27 2016 | Caravans | No Comments »

The schedule for 2013 has been posted!

Dates and locations can be found by clicking on the Schedule for 2013 link on the left.  We hope to see you there!

January 18 2013 | Caravans | No Comments »

Sampling Oregon: Day 37-40, Homeward Bound

BY: PHILIP TERHORST

As we love to do, we were up early and on the road, in the dark, by 5:00 am. As we drove down the mountain towards Hwy 97 the skies lightened and another beautiful day dawnead. We’re on our way home! Not that we really want to get home… We could keep on going forever. But work and obligations await. Of course, the first milestone on our trip today is our return to California. Oregon was nice, but, come on… Is there any place better than California?

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California here we come! Right back where we started from…

Mount Shasta… 14,179 feet high… 10,000 feet above the surrounding valleys

We proceeded towards Mount Shasta. We could see it 150 miles away! We stopped at the vista point to see this great volcano, and to learn a little of its history. From here, we continued on to Red Bluff, where we stopped at the Durango RV Resort. It was great to plug in, get connected, take a shower, take a dip in the pool, and walk on hard, clean surfaces for the first time in 4 weeks. I think we’ve had enough of dirt and weeds for a while. And no more mosquitoes! This was a wonderful respite!

After a stroll along the Sacramento River, we turned in for an early night. Monday we had a leisurely morning. We headed south on I-5, set the cruise control, and enjoyed the scenery. By 3:00 pm we were at the Sierra Vista Dairy, in Tulare. Ken and Jeanette DeGroot are the owner-operators of the dairy, where they have lived for about 21 years. We always enjoy getting re-acquainted and learning about the ins and outs of operating a dairy…

We spent an enjoyable evening catching up on our various activities. We were last here five years ago, on our way back from Oregon in 2006. Tuesday morning I took an early walk to take some pictures of the dairy. Apparantly, Holstein cows love to have their picture taken, because when they saw me, they stampeded over to pose!

We also saw their son, Eric, working at his summer job. For Lunch, we drove to the Gateway to the Sierra Mountains. Then we were off to visit Dave and Mary Baas, in Visalia. Dave and Mary retired from the Valley Christian Schools threee years ago and moved to Visalia to be closer to family. We enjoyed an afternoon and evening around the pool and enjoying dinner and each others’ company.

Wednesday morning we headed south again, arriving in Irvine mid-day. The Airstream is at C&G for minor repairs and a good washing in preparation for our vacation at San Clemente State Beach next week.

3,700 miles and 40 days; new friends made, old friends enjoyed. And, as usual, an enjoyable time was had by all…

July 22 2011 | Caravans | No Comments »

Sampling Oregon: Day 35-36, Lake Paulina

BY: PHILIP TERHORST

It was cold this morning! 30 degrees! Real, Fahrenheit degrees! Traveling in an ancient (“Vintage”) Airstream, we are a little disadvantaged in this environment.

Since we rarely camp in cold temperatures, and since we “always” camp with electricity connections, when our ancient gas furnace died a few years ago, we simply had it removed. We carry a small electric heater for those rare SoCal mornings when we need a little heat. Not so today!

Fortunately, this being Oregon, the sun rises early. Coffee was ready by 7:30, and by then the sun was shining and we started to warm up.

As I mentioned yesterday, this rally will be a commemoration of the founding of the Oregon Unit 52, years ago, at this exact location. There are several activities today and tomorrow to celebrate both the anniversary of the club, and the last days of the Sampling Oregon Caravan.

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This morning, Friday, the caravan folks (Scott) prepared coffee for the rally, but other than that, breakfast was on our own. Soon, Scott and Chris (with Moose), Lynda, and Bill F. left on the 7 1⁄2 mile trek around the lake. Upon their return they reported a marvelous journey. Only Moose seemed to be a little tired…

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The rest of the day was spent relaxing and taking in the beauty of our surroundings. Of course, Walt spent time fishing, but catching was not to be had.
Friday evening was our Caravan Final Banquet. The Lake Paulina Lodge prepared a BBQ dinner of chicken, sides, and peach cobler dessert. We had about 50 people in attendance.

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To commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the Oregon Unit, one group photo was captured by Bill Ferry.

Saturday morning dawned a little warmer than the day before. A group breakfast of sausage and gravy was served. The group then scattered to various activities for the day.

Phil and Lynda walked down the small river (creek?) that drains lake Paulina. About 1⁄4 mile down are spectacular waterfalls, with vistas up and down the river.

Doug Heath added to the festivities by providing 24 gourmet pizzas, prepared on the BBQ grill. All attendees assisted by providing salads and desserts. My favorite was the Chili Dog Pizza!

At about 3:00pm, the real party began!

As the evening faded, we again celebrated the end of the caravan. One final picture was taken…

Bill and Beth Ferry, Phil and Lynda Terhorst, Walt and Lyn Weber, Scott Prall and Chris Hudson, and Bill and Kathy Marshall… we did all or most of the 12 stops along the caravan. This is the last night of our Oregon Caravan. An enjoyable time was had by all.

Tomorrow we leave for California!

July 22 2011 | Caravans | No Comments »

Sampling Oregon: Day 34, The Final Caravan Campsite

BY: PHILIP TERHORST

Another beautiful day greeted us as we pulled out of Elk Lake and headed south and east to Paulina Lake.

Paulina Lake is a favorite campground for many members of the Oregon Unit of the WBCCI. This rally will be a commemoration of the founding of the Oregon Unit 52, years ago, at this exact location.

As we traveled east and south from Elk Lake we stopped at various locations for lunch, groceries, wine and gas. Some of us even had a chance to see a few famous mountains…

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We regrouped about 13 miles from the campground so that the caravan could arrive in a convoy. Walt mounted his “Caravan Leader” flag and we proceeded up the mountain, arriving at the campground amid cheers from other members of the Oregon Unit.

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Ready for the final convoy…

Once we were set up, we had a chance to walk to the lake and see where we were. We are in a caldera!

Paulina lake was formed much in the same was as Crater Lake. There was once a much bigger mountain here. When the volcano blew, the center collapsed and the lake was formed.

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The lake is a favorite fishing spot, and there is a nice lodge, with a store, a restaurant, and cabins.

Soon Happy Hours arrived. There about 25 Airstreams here, so there were many opportunities to meet and greet new and old friends. Many of these folks were also at the Newport and Baker City rallies…

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Eventually we scattered to various campfires, as the temperature was dropping. Once again, an enjoyable time was had by all.

July 14 2011 | Caravans | No Comments »

Sampling Oregon: Day 32-33, On to Elk Lake

BY: PHILIP TERHORST

Another beautiful day greeted us as we pulled out of John Day and headed west to Elk Lake, in the Cascade Mountains. Once again we saw interesting geological formations and the drive was easy.

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We stopped to stretch our legs in Mitchell, OR. This is an old mining and agricultural town that retains much of it olde time charm.

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As we contimnued heading east, we traveled through dramatic vocanic formations of rocks and hills…

We arrived in Redmond, OR, at mid- day. After a little shopping and re- supplying, most of our group headed up the mountain towards Mount Bacheldor. We, on the other hand, thought we’d check out downtown Bend, OR, and then stop for a tour at the Deschutes Brewery.

Bend is Central Oregon’s largest city, and, despite its modest size, is the de facto metropolis of the region, owing to the low population density of this area. With a City population of about 76,000, and a metro population of about 170,000, the Bend MSA is the 5th largest metropolitan area in Oregon.

Bend is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range along the Deschutes River. Here, the Great Basin high desert plateau, characterized by arid land, junipers, and sagebrush, (where we have been traveling for the past 3 weeks…) transitions into the Ponderosa Pine forest of the Cascades.

The Deschutes Brewery was started in 1988 as a brew-pub in downtown Bend. They are now in a large facility located on the outskirts of

Bend, but they still brew their beer in the craft-manner. We did a beer tasting, then a tour of the plant. We love stuff like this!

As we ascended the mountains to the west of Bend, we were greeted by snow on the ground, on both sides of the road. But soon we were into a different range, the snow disappeared, and we arrived at Little Fawn Campground on Elk Lake.

Elk Lake is quite small, and our campground was on the edge of a small inlet to the small lake. Happy Hours were soon underway…

However, our revelry was short lived. Wind and light rain attacked. We scrambled to set up a canopy… All hands on deck! Many hands make light work…

Of course, as soon as the canopy was up, the rain stopped. The rest of the evening was quite pleasant.

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On Wednesday we were treated to another fabulous breakfast prepared by Scott and Chris. The Dutch oven was used for the eggs, potatoes, sausage, and cheese, while the oven in the Airstream baked biscuits.

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As we enjoyed the great breakfast in the cool of the morning, we also enjoyed the view…

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Activities including hiking, walking, and some sightseeing. Lyn and Walt drove to the adjacent Lava Lake to see those sights. Bill and Bill, and also Phil and Lynda walked around a portion of the lake to see the various vistas…

Our camp sites… as viewed from the other side of the inlet…

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Our dinner this evening, prepared again by Scott and Chris, was succulent BBQ chicken and pasta salad.

As this was our last dinner together as a caravan, we presented Lyn and Walt a specially decorated cake and a specially selected beverage to express our appreciation for their hard work and many months (years?) of planning.

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We found out after we left Elk Lake that the domestic water supply at the Elk lake Lodge was found to be contaminated by Coliform bacteria, and about 100 campers were ill with the affects of the Norovirus… Since we were “dry” camping, we only had our own on-board water to drink, so none of us were affected…

July 13 2011 | Caravans | No Comments »

Sampling Oregon: Day 30-31, Back to John Day

BY: PHILIP TERHORST

As we left Hilgard Junction, we traveled south through beautiful, open countryside, with nary a car on the road. This part of the country does not look prosperous; numerous abandoned buildings, many from 100 years ago, are visible from the road, dilapidated and deteriorating. In the late 1800s this was a booming mining area, but now the only apparent activity is hay farming and cattle ranching. There were some very interesting geological features that are quite astounding, appearing to be fortresses on the horizon. We traveled about 3 hours until we reached the town of John Day, and the Grant County Fair Grounds.

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By about 11:30 we started to arrive… We arrived first… chronically early, as usual.

Soon the others appeared… all present and accounted for…

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We spent the rest of the day charging batteries and filling water tanks. This is the last stop on the caravan where we have “hook-ups” in the RV park. After this stay we will be dry camping, relyng only on out wilderness skills, solar collector panels, storage tanks, and portable generators.

We took a walk into town, a small place with only about 2 blocks of a downtown. We had passed through here, traveling up from the south, and heading east, when we traveled from Delintment Lake to baker City about 2 weeks ago.

There was this wonderful mid-century modern motel in town:

The motel appeared to be in good condition; in fact, this day they were re-coating the parking lot. It is always fun to disacover interesting architecture in out of the way places like this.

This stop it is Lynda’s turn to be Chef o’ the Day. A few days earlier, we had traveled to La Grande to find provisions for this event.

Monday morning Lynda prepared a fine breakfast of French Toast, made with cinnamon bread; we also enjoyed sausages and the usual juice and coffee.

Monday was spent doing laundry and sightseeing. Some of the group went to the Kam Wah Chung Museum.

Kam Wah Chung Museum is a must- see for anyone with an interest in Oregon history. Preserving the legacy of the Chinese workforce in Oregon, the museum contains artifacts and displays that share some of the trials of everyday life of these people.

Chinese businessman Lung On and herbal doctor Ing Hay worked out of this building. Dr. Hay administered care to the Chinese gold-mine workers, pioneers, and others from the John Day area and beyond by using traditional Chinese remedies.

When we were last in this part of the world, leaving Delintment Lake, Bill Marshall had spotted what he thought was a 1930s era wind generator, the device used in rural America before electric companies ran power lines through the countryside in the late 1940s and early 50s.

Well, Bill thought this old wind generator would be a dandy addition to the barn full of other oddities that he currently presides over.

We drove about 65 miles through back country roads, trying to find this place. Finally it appeared, just as he had remembered it. We found the owner of the proprty, who promptly told us it was not for sale. However, he did tell us it was from the 1930s and was used up until the mid 50s. Bill took some pictures, and we drove 65 miles back to the Airstreams, arriving just in time for Happy Hours…

Dinner was once again prepared by Lynda. Tri-tip roast, “Church” potatoes, and Caesar Salad were on the menu, followed by Angel Food Cake and Berries

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After dinner, we had a roundtable discussion on the various pros and cons of our Caravan, the good, the bad, and the ugly of our Caravan, and advice for future caravan planners and leaders.

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With all our comments, it was clear that we were all unamimous in agreeing that the Caravan was a resounding success. Our thanks to Walt and Lyn!

July 11 2011 | Caravans | No Comments »

Sampling Oregon: Day 28-29, Farewell to Wallowa Lake

BY: PHILIP TERHORST

So as we bid farewell to the beautiful Wallowa Lake, we look forward to another beautiful drive through the Oregon Countryside.

Our first destination today (Friday) was to LaGrande, where we would shop for food and fill our tanks with gas. LaGrande is a very nice, prosperous, small town (more later…), surrounded by prosperous- looking farms, with green fields and croplands.

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Just past LaGrande is the Hilgard State Park, tucked into a natural cove of the LaGrande Ronde River. This location is a natural camp- ground, used for hundreds of years by the Indians, then by the pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail. Now it is a small, grassy, shady spot to spend a few nights.

We had a leisurely day of setting up camp, walking to see the river, and I suspect a nap or two was taken.

Dinner was to be “on our own”, but meals and tables were shared and the conversations went on into the evening…

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Saturday moring we were greeted by the sights and aromas of Lyn working magic with the Dutch oven. Her able assistant for the day was Chris. Coffee and toast were available, thanks to Scott’s generator, and Lyn’s “Mountain Man Breafast” – hashed browned potatoes, sausage, eggs and cheese, all baked in the Dutch oven – were enjoyed by all.

After breakfast, we scattered to various activities. Scott and Chris left to see if the river offered canoeing opportunities. Phil and Lynda went to LaGrande to sight-see and shop. Others did other things…

Downtown La Grande has a pedestrian friendly shopping district. The tree lined streets enhance examples of turn of the century architecture, all adding to the small- town shopping experience. Eastern Oregon State University is just a ten minute walk from the shopping district. The university serves ten counties east of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon.

On this Saturday, there was a Farmer’s Market, a sidewalk sale, and a car show along Main Street. The downtown shopping distric is about 4-5 blocks long, with stores of all sorts. Most remarkable to this reporter was that there are a Chevrolet dealer and a Ford dealer located right downtown on Main Street. Also, J.C. Penny Co.! No malls for this smart little town…

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The town appeared vibrant and prosperous. We had a nice time shopping and watching the locals look at the cars…

In the afternoon there were more solitary pursuits. Lyn prepared a Lentil Stew and Garlic Bread in the Dutch ovens; an enjoyable time was had by all.

July 09 2011 | Caravans | No Comments »

Sampling Oregon: Day 27, Wallowa Lake Continues

BY: PHILIP TERHORST

Again, we awoke to hearing the rushing of the Wallowa River just adjacent to our RV Park. Breakfast was prepared by the Bashes in our “Lodge” overlooking the river.

Today was a lazy day, with many slow-paced activities. All, or some of us, at one time or another, did the following:

  • Walk through the State park
  • Tour the 1923 Wallowa Lodge
  • Enjoyed boating, and fishing, but, sadly, no catching
  • Puttered around the Airstream
  • Read
  • Napped
  • Went to the town of Joseph for lunch
  • Went to the town of Joseph to tour the Historical Museum
  • Went to the town of Joseph to visit the historical gravesite of Old Chief Joseph
  • Hiked
  • Biked

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Wallowa River… Parts of the State Park were flooded by the high waters…

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Deer… In the State Park…

After a full but relaxing day we gathered for an early dinner. After dinner we took a group photograph, then said farewell to those who are not continuing on the caravan: Evans, VonTagen, and Bashes leave us tomorrow.

Tomorrow we head for Higard Junction State Park (in lieu of Divide Wells…). It should be a nice drive…

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July 07 2011 | Caravans | No Comments »

Sampling Oregon: Day 26, Wallowa Lake and Mt. Howard

BY: PHILIP TERHORST

We awoke to hearing the rushing of the Wallowa River just adjacent to our RV Park. Breakfast was served in our “Lodge” overlooking the river…

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The view from our meeting room was spectacular!

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We soon scattered to our various activities of the day. Walt went fishing, Some of us (un-named) simply lazed around and napped for most of the day.

The more adventurious of us took the Tram up Mount Howard.

The tram rises from Lake Wallowa, at 4,400’, to a height of 8,150’. The main draw to ride the tram is to get free WiFi at the top of the mountain, since there is NO, let me repeat, NO, internet or cell phone service at the campground at Wallowa Lake. Don’t tell me about hardship!

The views from the top of the mountain are spectacular! We even had the “priviledge” to walk in the snow!

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After some brief refreshment at the top, we descended, revealing even more great views…

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Later in the day, some of us visited the town of Joseph. Again, the main reason was to get WiFi, but the town is interesting, too.

The town of Joseph is named in honor of Chief Joseph, of the Nez Pierce Tribe, which occupied this vally prior to being relocated to reservations in Idaho and Washington.

Chief Joseph (March 3, 1840 – September 21, 1904) was the chief of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce during General Oliver O. Howard’s attempt to forcibly remove his band and the other “non-treaty” Nez Perce to a reservation in Idaho. For his principled resistance to the removal, he became renowned as a humanitarian and peacemaker, often speaking out against the injustices brought against his tribe by the Federal Government.

As the sun set behind the mountains, we gathered for happy hours and a dinner of pork chops prepared by Walt. As light faded, we retreated to our Airstreams; an enjoyable time was had by all!

July 06 2011 | Caravans | No Comments »

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