Monthly Archives: July 2008

Hello from Bozeman

Georgetown Lake, MT by you.

Angus at Georgetown Lake, between St. Regis and Bozeman

I have spent the last few days in Bozeman with Heather at the retreat where she spent last summer.  The owners, Laura and Ted, have graciously allowed us to pop up at one the cabins that currently isn’t in use.  The spot is beautiful and there is a hiking trail right from camp that has a nice view over Bozeman. 

View over Bozeman by you.

Angus hiking above Bozeman this morning

It is beautiful here and I can see why folks would want a summer home here, but I hear they still had snow in June, which means I would have a hard time here.  In addition to checking out downtown, the farmer’s co-op, and a cool hike,

Hyalite Lake Trail by you.

Heather and Lucy on the Hyalite Lake Trail

I have gotten to meet a handful of Heather’s friends from last summer.  Lastnight we were invited to a wonderful barbecue in nearby Belgrade that included homemade strawberry shortcake!  It was rather a late night for me but worth it for the food and great company. 

The dogs have been given free reign on the retreat property and Lucy in particular has been taking full advantage.  She hunts rodents nonstop and this morning I spotted her trotting around with a chocolate lab that I hadn’t seen before and haven’t since.  It has been a really comfortable stay and at least we leave here headed toward promising ground.  We will drive through Yellowstone and Grand Teton NPs toward Leadville, CO.

Forgot my camera!

I am in Bozeman MT with my sister, Heather, until tomorrow when we will head down to Yellowstone and beyond.  Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera with me to the coffee shop so I can’t upload the pictures I have but I will next time!  Should be able to post again by early next week at the latest.

Chasing cherries

If I had to pick a favorite fruit it might be cherries.  Bing cherries.  I left Livermore just as the cherry season was ending and cherries were a little late up in Oregon, so I was able to get some there, too.  Then, as I pulled off the exit to my campground yesterday I was a sign advertising fresh cherries.  What luck! 

St. Regis cherries

St. Regis cherries

These were already washed and came with a napkin and plastic bag for the pits. 

Yes, I am in Montana already, despite all my talk last fall about Idaho’s appeal.  We made a short drive from the Portland area to Viento SP on the Columbia River Gorge, which was beautiful.

Columbia River Gorge, Viento SP by you.

Columbia River

The park wasn’t the greatest for sleeping though, since it was right along both the highway and some railroad tracks.  Fast-moving trains are frightening!  If they were to slip off the tracks, o the destruction!  So they woke me up constantly all night long.  Lucy too, I think, judging from her fatigue the next day.  Fortunately, we had a long drive from the Hood River area to Spokane, WA (during which I bought more cherries).  When we finally arrived at Riverside Park, right on the edges of Spokane, we took the last spot in the campground for the second time in a week.  When we arrived people kept warning me about the dog next door to us because he was “so mean.”  But he turned out to be a sweetheart!  He was a shepherd mix named Stud who had been a service dog for his owner’s diabetic and deaf wife, who had passed away 8 months ago.  It sounded like someone else had been taking care of him for a while and this guy (the grieving husband) had come camping with his dog trying to help both of them recover from her death.  I think people thought he was mean because when his owner is absent (bathroom, etc.) he gets really nervous (probably afraid he won’t return, like the wife didn’t return) and territorial.  Lucy LOVED him, and she doesn’t love many dogs.  Maybe it had something to do with his being an intact male and super dominant, so she didn’t have any questions about where she stood. 

Back to the park, it wasn’t obvious at first how much this place had to offer.  It’s just outside Spokane, so close that it only shows up on the inset map in the atlas.  It had great hiking trails and a cool “swinging bridge.”  The bridge was first built in the early 1900s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was rebuilt in 1998 using the original plans.  After you cross the river from the campground you can either get on the Centennial Trail, which is a paved path running all the way into Idaho, or you can take the park hiking trails. 

Riverside SP Spokane 021 by you.

The swinging bridge

We stuck to the hiking trails. 

Riverside SP Spokane 025 by you.

Lucy taking a water break.  This was right before she chased the ducks.

After two nights at Riverside SP we moved on again, this time to the St. Regis Campground in Montana.  It’s a private campground, which I have been avoiding, but so nice.  It’s not too crowded even though this is a weekend, the sites are grassy (gravel is rough on Angus’ feet) and large and shady during part of the day; the staff helped me back in and then complimented me on my backing skills–hopefully I have acquired some by now; the bathrooms are spotlessly clean, amazingly clean.  They close three hours for cleaning instead of the usual one.  The neighbors are extremely friendly and lastnight I was invited for a chili dinner where about 15 people gathered to eat.  The chili was a white bean/chicken chili and was so delicious I wonder if the recipe is a secret or if I can get a copy.  It’s a slow cooker recipe too, so probably fairly easy. 

Today we are relaxing, having already been for walks and a run, and I have a couple chores to do.  I want to do some laundry, for example, and get some postcards….must run!  The store is open, probably briefly.

Oregon, post-Ashland and pre-Portland

[This is old news by a few days.]

After Ashland I headed toward the coast because it comes highly recommended, but while camped in a nice roomy spot near Coquille I found I was too anxious to head eastward to really enjoy the scenery out there and the next day took a pretty drive back inland toward Eugene and stayed the weekend at a beautiful campground in Cottage Grove called Schwarz Park. I showed up on Thursday afternoon just when the last weekend spots were going fast and got a great shady spot close to the hiking trail ON WHICH DOGS ARE ALLOWED. Woohoo! No boots for Angus! The park looks just like the ones they show in rv advertisements with plenty of both open space and tall trees too, right on a river. And the showers were hot and free. The weather was fantastic, with highs in the 80s every day and cool weather at night. I didn’t see as much of Eugene as I planned, partially because the campground was so nice, but did make it to the spectacular Saturday Market where they have crafts for sale and perhaps the best farmers market I have ever seen. They sell produce there I have never heard of, and I pay attention to produce.

Walk along Dorena Lake

The last day we were there we discovered the path up to the lake edge, which takes you right up to the top of Dorena Dam. 

In addition to seeing the city of Eugene I was hoping to visit with then Colin and Jen Rea family there, but unfortunately Colin was under the weather for much of the weekend so we only managed a brief visit on Sunday as I was headed north toward Portland. They generously allowed me to do a load of laundry while I was there too (thanks, guys!).

Now I am about 20 miles from Portland in another fine Oregon SP called Champoeg. When I arrived the sign out from read “Campground Full” but when I asked they had one site left. Lucky! Then, immediately after backing the camper into our spot, our neighbors Ron and Joanne invited me over for a drink and some conversation. Ron used to own a farm across the river from here where he raised Hereford beef cattle, but now he and Joanne live near Bend.

I originally thought I would spend a lot of time here in Oregon, but suddenly (and pleasantly), I am on a schedule: I am meeting my sister, Heather, in Bozeman MT in a little over a week! I figure that leaves me only one or two days in the Portland area before heading east. I had been disappointed that I wouldn’t get to see the Portland farmers’ market which is supposed to be fantastic, but fortunately Colin Rea assured me that Eugene’s is better. 

I’m in Oregon at last!

After leaving Livermore we bolted north to Castle Crags SP, which was nice enough but as usual in CA dogs weren’t allowed on park trails.  Fortunately, the Pacific Crest Trail was nearby and we did a really nice hike up to and along it Monday morning.  We walked for 2 hours up a steep, rocky slope at times and Angus did great except for one scary incident where he drank a lot of water, then started walking like he was drunk, and almost slid off the trail down a steep slope.  He recovered in a few minutes.

On the PCT

I was impatient to get into Oregon so after our hike we took off to Ashland, where we are camping at Emigrant Lake Recreation Area.  It is a nice park for people with a beautiful lake and a nice playground and even water slides! 

See the foggy mountain in the background?  I assume it is smoke from all the forest fires, just like we were seeing in Livermore.

We spent most of the afternoon at the camper yesterday, where it was hot, but checked out Ashland in the air-conditioned car late in the afternoon mostly for some relief from the heat.  It’s a beautiful town with plenty of bookstores and coffeeshops.  This morning I had some really delicious coffee from a place called Key of C Coffee House, where they also make their own bagels.  Actually, that’s where I am right now.   To keep the dogs out of the heat today I put them in a kennel a few miles north of Ashland.  It’s ridiculously hard for me to leave them, even for a day!  I wanted to cry when I left them in the large, air-conditioned, clean indoor/outdoor cage together where they would get to wander around the yard at some point in the afternoon.  When I walk down an aisle between cages hearing dogs park I think “dog pound!” and my instinct is to get my dogs away from there ASAP, but all the dogs I saw seemed relaxed and happy.  ….What am I doing here, trying to talk myself into thinking it’s okay to put them in the kennel?    Of course it’s okay, it’s probably even good for them.  The main point is I was free to wander around Ashland by myself this afternoon, which is a special treat.  All along I have been planning to see a play here, but when the day finally came I didn’t feel like sitting in a theater.  Instead I wandered the bookstores (but didn’t buy anything!) and came here to plot my route and get in touch with you all.  Earlier I walked through Lithia Park in downtown Ashland, which I wouldn’t have been able to do with the dogs.  It’s a gem of a park with duck ponds and tennis courts and playgrounds and open spaces for field games and about a mile-and-a-half in there is a swimming hole. 

See the baby ducks?

On the road again at last?

Yesterday my friend, Brian, and I went into San Francisco to tour around a little.  We went to the big farmer’s market down at the Ferry Building on The Embarcadero first, and then did a bit of sightseeing on foot. 

We had lunch and spent a good part of the afternoon at Ghirardelli Square (free peanut chocolate sample!) with some pigeons, one of which lacked a foot and toe.  As they pecked apart pieces of bread they constantly threw bread chunks over their shoulders. 

The pirate pigeon on his peg leg

But the highlight of the day for me was finding sfogliatelle at a pastry shop en route back to the car.  These are my most favorite pastry in the world and I think the last time I had one was over six years ago.  Inside they have an orange-flavored ricotta filling.  Holy smokes, so delicious. 

Sfogliatelle.

Sfogliatelle

I am semi-reluctantly packing up to leave Livermore this morning.  The schedule says I leave today but if it gets late (if I procrastinate enough) I may put it off until tomorrow since I intend to make rather a long drive of 4+ hours to our next stop.  In just a couple days we shall have entered Oregon at long last.

Ever cook with fresh fava beans?

As usual, I am postponing my plans a little.  I was going to leave Livermore either tonight or tomorrow and be in Ashland, Oregon for the weekend, but unexpectedly a friend of mine is going to be in town so I will stay a few more days. You know what that means: at least one more visit to the farmers markets.  I have eyed fava bean recipes for years but haven’t seen any around until now.  I have been getting them from the Livermore market and eating them with pasta and they’re really good, but I think their stronger appeal to me might be that they seem freakishly big for beans.

I also made focaccia bread this week and had tofu sandwiches, which have been on my mind ever since that one I ate from Wildberries in Arcata.  My latest and less virtuous craving is for chocolate chip cookies.  I think I can get those at the farmers market, too.