Field Trips; Reviews Out and About

June 2-4 2017  Eugene and Ashland, OR

Friday night we drove after school/work to Eugene to spend the night in a La Quinta hotel.  It was right on the park, Alton Baker Park.  It was a lovely evening and people were flooding into the park to hear some music.  Seemed like the perfect thing to do.  We were hungry for dinner and were going to get to bed early in order to arrive in Ashland in time for the picnic.  We went to Mod Pizza for our first time.  It was a pretty great concept of build your own pizza and have it ready in a very reasonable amount of time.  I can see visiting another Mod Pizza in our future.

Saturday we arrived in Ashland in time to start celebrating our friend, Garry’s Birthday.  His parents were throwing an all weekend, fun-filled event to celebrate his birthday.  Party one, was Friday night and we missed it.  Party two was a catered picnic lunch.  




Eleanor and Lucy

Chicken Salad Sandwich on home-made focaccia bread.




Later in the evening we went to the big party with the birthday boy and awesome band.  “Elvis,” made an appearance and gave a great concert. 

Garry is a person who personifies love and acceptance.  One of his mottos is, “Love everybody and never ever hurt anybody.” We celebrated his 30 years with gusto.



We were all given tee shirts to celebrate and the staff wore read ones. 

















July 18-22, 2014  Seaside, Oregonphoto-3

Our dear friends rented a house on the beach in Seaside, and invited us to stay with them.

It was a beautiful four days.  We spent time on the beach (of course) and found the water very warm, which is unusual for us on the Pacific Coast.

We also took a few day trips, one to Rockaway, one to Astoria and one to Ecola State Park.

photo 4-2Astoria is our all-time favorite place to vacation at the coast.  We took Eleanor and her friend Hayden up to the Astoria Column.  It’s always fun to fly the light wooden airplanes from the top.  This time we had a spectacular view of the Columbia River, the Bay, and the town of Astoria.  Our planes caught some strong warm air currents and flew far away into the forest.

Eleanor and I had never been to Ecola State Park, nor had we looked in the tide pools.  It was really a fun experience.  We touched many a soft sea anemone, and found a half of a dozen, gorgeous, purple, and orange star fish.   The star fish are the predators in the tide pool.  Though they are slow movers, they are faster than the barnacles and muscles!  We happened upon  a ranger near the tide pools, so we were able to ask questions. We learned about a funny microscopic organism that creates its own little sail boat community. photo 2-3

We saw these papery pieces all over the beach in Seaside and Ecola beach.  They are an only species… no others like them.

Seaside is great kite flying weather.  Eleanor’s old kite didn’t seem to work correctly, so our friend Lee bought her a new one.  It was a hit with the kids and adults alike, and worked very well.  So well in fact, that Jamie put the kite on a stick in the sand and it continued to fly.

Our side trip to Rockaway was just with Eleanor and me.  My Aunt Betty has an annual family weekend at Rockaway and I only make it every third year or so.  This was too good of an opportunity to pass since we were already right up the beach from them.  It was great to connect with cousins, aunts, and uncles again.  It was also great for Eleanor to put faces to the names she’s heard before. photo 1-4

We spent our last sunset evening on the beach.  Jamie built a great fire and she and the kids roasted marshmallows.  We had some perfectly golden smores.





July 9-11, 2014  Ashland, Oregon

Once a summer my brothers and I gather to spend 24 hours together with our families.  My eldest brother, Tim, retired after a full career in the Army, and for the last few years we all have been working on being re-connected.  photo 1-5 This year it was Todd’s turn to host.

The word, “host,” is used loosely here.  It’s more about the area we visit.  We either go to Montana, where Tim lives, Oregon, where Todd and I live, or Seattle, where we all have roots.

Todd and his wife Melanie have a lovely new home in the hills outside of Ashland.  It was time for everyone to see his space.

Jamie, Eleanor, and I drove south on a warm, warm day.  As we were making good time and didn’t want to arrive too early, we stopped off at the Seven Feathers Casino.  There was an arcade room there for Eleanor (and us) to have some fun.  Eleanor and I rocked it on Guitar Hero.

Todd’s house boasts a beautiful deck and we sphoto 3-5pend most of our family time out there.  Todd and Melanie’s youngest daughter, little Lucille Esther, played basketball, demonstrated yoga poses, and thoroughly delighted all.

Games of irk were played and plenty of beer was enjoyed.  Tim and Susan brought their little dog, Bree who was happy to mix with Sam and Melanie’s dogs (Clover and Piggy).  Sam is Melanie’s daughter and such a wonderful peaceful addition to our raucous family.  photo 4-4

Todd grilled a lovely salmon chicken dinner and we stayed up late enjoying the sound of the birds in the trees.

Our family outing was a walk through Lithia Park in Ashland.  Knowing it was quite warm, a bit of shade and moving water was just the ticket.  The park is lovely!  The dappled light and beautiful spaces for relaxation, made it a perfect walk.

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We ate lunch in a pretty tasty Thai Restaurant, so Jamie and I made a quick detour after lunch to Caldera Taproom while the others went for ice cream at Mix.

We decided on a taco-bar dinner and went to the Ashland Food Co-op for supplies.  For a compact store they have a great selection.  I picked up some nice ripe limes for margaritas.  Their  produce was impressive.

photo 2-5On our visit, we saw a couple of doe and one young mother had two fawns.  They were so darling.  I was able to grab a couple of pictures, but not of the twins together.

On our drive back north (to home) we decided to visit the  Wildlife Safari.  On past trips we’ve driven by several times, and after talking to others, we decided to stop.  Upon arrival, we found out there was free entrance to the little village with some animals on display.  The Safari was an hour and a half slow drive around the game park and a fairly large fee.  $18.00 for each adult plus a child fee.

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We decided to check out the village as we preferred to be on our feet.  The little village was a nice stop as there was no entrance fee.  We saw a couple of huge boa constrictors, a cheetah, some lions, flamingos, a huge turtle, and more.  The wildlife drive is expensive but probably worth it.  There was plenty to see in the village for this time. Eleanor had an opportunity one wouldn’t think available in Oregon.

photo 2-4Eleanor’s comments:

I don’t why I really wanted to ride the camel.  I kinda expected to fall.  It was really fun.  It felt like what you would think a camel would feel like.  I loved playing with Lucy and beating Todd at Irk.

July 5, 2014.

Eleanor and I had cleaned out our book shelves earlier in the week and decided to take the unwanted books into Powells.

We have a little free library in front of our house and often put our “already read,” books in there.  This time, we were getting rid of gentle used newer books, so we wanted to try to get some money out of them.

photo 1-1When we arrived at Powells, we wondered if we should not have gone on July 5th.  The store was teeming with vacationers.  However,  the book-buy-back line was short as we were some of the very few locals visiting on this day.

We earned enough money back to buy some birthday presents as well as a new book for Eleanor.

Eleanor has several friends with July birthdays, as is her own.  We picked up four gifts without spending any money… we bought it all on our store credit.  That felt very good to this penny-pinching mother.

photo 2-1Powells was so busy they had an employee stand at the end of the queue.  If it wasn’t an apocalyptic moment it certainly was a Portlandia one.  I found it humorous either way.

We love Powells and have spent many a happy hour there reading books, drinking coffee/chocolate milk and deciding on our final purchases.  While I have no personal ties to Powells I have a very proud feeling to have it in Portland. When we host guests from out-of-town, it’s the first destination for us.   It’s great to repeatedly visit an amazing local business.

They are remodeling in the Pearl location (our favorite) but the employees there are fast, efficient, and helpful.  We were in an out as quickly as we could have wished.

Another hint I have learned is to take the left-over rejected books to the second Powells location on Hawthorne.  They will often take books that the mother store doesn’t need.  I was able to return a bit more there.  It feels very good. There is a very charming Powells Gardening Book Store on Hawthorne where store credit is just as good as cash.  Love it!

July 1, 2014

After a very hot day at the pool Eleanor and I had to swing by our favorite Food Truck…. Scoop.  They have the very best chocolate in town.  It’s smooth and tastes just like Dutch chocolate is supposed to.  It’s not too sweet or too strong.  They happened to have another favorite of ours, cake batter.  So we had a scoop of each.  10495117_10204169397938703_1257506658100707703_o

We picked up a packed pint-to-go of cookies and cream.  Eleanor’s favorite flavor is Oatmeal Cinnamon, and mine is Salted Caramel.  We, of course add a scoop of chocolate to these flavors as there is no reason to eat ice cream without chocolate!

Salted Caramel is popular in many places, but I love Scoop’s the best because it’s pretty salty.  It’s just the right amount sort of like a perfect rim on a margarita or sprinkled on a pretzel.  The caramel is sweet and rich and the salt is perfectly blended.

(July 1st was the hottest day so far this summer at 99 degrees.)

June 27-29, 2014 The Lot, near Easton, Washington.


My father and step-mother have a little piece of river front property.  When my brothers and I were children, we would spend 2-4 weeks there every summer.  The Lot, as we called it, was wooded, and flanked by a sluggish creek on one side and a fast, cold river at the front.

Being on the east side of the Cascades the summer temperatures would soar to 95 plus degrees.  Luckily the river was cold and the lake very swimable.

After we all graduated high school, my parents started building a cabin on the property.  It took about 10 years and now boasts a charming log cabin.

My lasting and pleasant memories  of The Lot are around the many nights I roasted marshmallows, slept in a tent with my brothers, fished for trout in the lake, and inner tubed down the river.

As my parents have aged, they talk about selling The Cabin (as they now call it.)  For various reasons my brothers and I have spent very little time there as adults and would be very sad to see the land sold.

One of the things I dearly wished for my daughter was to experience some of the beauty and simplicity of The Lot.  This wish came true last weekend.  It came about because of an offer Jamie and I made.  We told Dad and Janice we loved to work outside and would be happy to come to help out at the cabin.

Dad has recently undergone an amputation and has a prosthetic leg.  He and Janice hadn’t been to the cabin since the summer of 2012.


Jamie, Eleanor, and I rolled in after our 4 hour drive on Friday night.  We visited and played Irk that evening.  It was funny to see Dad be so tickled about winning the game and he didn’t let Eleanor forget it all weekend.

Saturday dawned with some sprinkles and showers.  Janice thought we wouldn’t be able to work outside.  We reminded her that we were Portlanders and could most certainly work in sprinkles.  Plus, sprinkles in the woods are quite mild.


Jamie worked on the high grass and I worked on the various piles of brush and debris.  We kept vigilant watch over the burning pile all day.  It’s so pleasant to wear leather gloves, drink a beer here and there, and work outside under the trees.  Even Eleanor lent a hand.


We finished the day off with a wade into the river.  We crossed it to a rock bar and the cold water felt good on our hot and tired feet.


Dad and Janice were very appreciative but so were we.  I was able to show Eleanor and Jamie my favorite haunts and we were given a warm invitation back.

Now that was a wish come true.


Eleanor’s comments:

I thought it was good and I really liked how I got to sleep inside a wall bunk in the loft of the cabin.  I liked the river and loved the new shower.  Playing with Grandpa and watching Pawn Brokers was a treat because the Moms would never let me watch that kind of show. Grandma Janice was fun and nice and I loved the pasta she made.  It was delicious and she taught me some stuff too. 


June 18-19, 2014 Grant County Museum and Historical Village in Ephrata, Washington

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While visiting my mother who lives in the Columbia Basin Hospital Nursing Home (in Ephrata, Washington) Eleanor and I took a little field trip to the Grant County Museum.  I had been to this museum as a teenager and thought it was pretty great for a small town like Ephrata.  Taking Eleanor was a fun revisit for me.10458976_10204109207873989_1368544266411823179_o

The tour was especially great because we are in the middle of reading, The Little House on the Prairie, books together.  All of the information Eleanor has learned about homesteading and western land acquisition was going to help her connect meaning to the artifacts.

When we arrived at the museum, I could see the village was larger than it was in my childhood.  The museum building itself, was two stories stuffed with memorabilia.  We had a long drive back to Portland ahead of us, so I knew we couldn’t spend too much time.10387117_10204109207753986_4777985581285855121_o

We decided to skip the inside museum and chose a guided tour of the outer buildings.  They were set up like an old western town.  We toured the buildings for 1.5 hours and still didn’t finish.  The lovely volunteers at the museum gave us a rain-check for us to come back another time.  What a deal!


Well I thought that it was fun because I got to see all the old fashioned stuff . It reminded me of a camp I went to where you used this style of  wash machine.  I really want to name a board.  What you do is… there is a board walk and you buy a board and they will carve your name in it.  I really wanted to do it, but we couldn’t that time we were there. 

I thought it might be cool to buy one with my Mom’s name on it…. “Myrtle Lucille Parks.”

June 2014

Eleanor and I spent the first two weeks of summer break at Creston Pool.   photo 5She was in Polar Bear swim class and I tried to swim laps.  I’m proud to say at the end of two weeks I was able to swim for 30 minutes straight.  There will be NO swim suit pictures posted!

Eleanor made huge strides in her front crawl stroke and her back stroke.  She will be moving on to Sea Lion.  The instructors at Creston are great and we’re so glad it’s our neighborhood pool. photo 4


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