Sunday, August 18, 2013

Run, Part 4

One thing I have learned on the road, is there is a certain type of folk that you can expect at RV parks.

When we first started to RV, it took a little getting used to this group, and everyone does it differently, but soon, we were coming across a pattern, and realized, we were part of that pattern. I decided it was so, when we found ourselves setting up a wire clothes dryer to dry our clothes and towels under Lavern's "dry side". No more finding tree stumps, limbs, and bike handles to air dry out our beach towels. We done travel with a pop up wire clothes hanger to dry our stuff. A sign of a true traveler.

Okay. Back to them RV folk. Where you stay is very important when planning a trip. Just like hotels, there are dives you wish you hadn't been, and gems, where you leave kicking and screaming because you want to stay longer. So far, we have had pretty good luck, give or take a few campgrounds, but have found a niche in camping amongst the "young at heart". The silver haired population that makes up 80% of the RV population.

On our way home on the last leg of our trip, we stopped in Silverton, OR for two nights so we could check out Silver Falls State Park. After a long-ish drive from Bandon, we rolled into the RV park, the "Silver Spur", hot, sweaty, and a bit road weary. I made check in minutes before the office closed at 5, and the  man behind the counter told me there was going to be a magic show (!) in an hour, with strawberry shortcake and lemonade, and that we should go.

At a campground? Magic? Sure. We must see this.

After setting Lavern up in the parking lot of a campground, I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. It was almost full, and we were the weenies compared to the big business that flanked all sides of us. We are talking full on homes on wheels, the big bad **s kinds. No foolin' around. We were the condo, and they were the million dollar mansions.

We made our way to the magic show, and I counted three other people me and Jeremy's age, a half dozen kids or so, and a sea of grey. The men sat with their ladies, and the ladies, well, they were all dolled up. These RV ladies wear red lipstick, play on their cell phones, wear khaki shorts and Hawaiian print blouses, drop words like "hun" and "dear," and wear their hair in long, slim, silver pony tails, or cut short with not a speck of grey. Oh, and Jewelry. They are all blinged up. Rings, earrings, bracelets. They sparkle plenty.

I call these ladies "Magdas." You know, after that fun older lady from the movie "There's something about Mary?" Yes. They are Magdas. Age doesn't matter when you are having fun. I fully intend on being one of them when I grow up.

Anyways, the magic show ended up to be really cute, and the sea of silver whooped and hollered. They loved it, and during intermission, since we stood out like a sore thumb, the couple next to us jumped. After introductions, we learned they have not been "home", which was Florida, for 30 years. Serious road travelers, they have been everywhere. As they talked, I noticed the sparkle in that Magdas eye, and the way her husband slung his arm happily around her. They were having so much fun, and those wrinkles and grey? That was just camouflage.  I couldn't believe the youth they exuded. Age is just a state of mind.

I went to bed that night excited about being old and grey with Jeremy. If that is what it looked like, I wanted it. And I went to sleep dreaming of silver ponytails, lipstick and bling. The world seemed better, knowing that this was still going to be an option into my 70's, God willing.

The next morning we explored Silver falls State Park, where their waterfalls put all waterfalls to shame.

Bad news was, I was highly, highly allergic to something that was growing in that forest. I was a complete goobery, saliva-ey, sticky mess, and couldn't go two steps without power sneezing all over the place. I was miserable the whole hike which was long and hard when you can't breathe. I was sure I was going to pass out, but I was too embarrassed to.
By the time we got out of the woods I could barely open my eyes, they were two big puffs on my slobbery face. It was not my best look, but I made myself take pictures, and share with you all, even though my camera could not capture the full beauty of this place:

And, after a long, hot, hike, there was a swim hole at the park to splash in, so Jeremy and I found a shady spot to sprawl under, while Grace found a friend who shared her Pringles with her, and they swam the afternoon away.

Kids are like magnets to each other, and they make friends with each other quickly and easily. Back at the campground, the campground kids ages 5-10 glammed onto each other and formed one big, pulsing, tornado. Soon, a group of them gathered on our little piece of green outside our camper, and played go-fish well into the dusky evening. Strangers to each other just five minutes prior, they played surprisingly well with each other.

 Also during our last evening there, one of the Magdas sought us out and walked the camp until she found us, to give us a pint of fresh berries she and her husband had picked earlier that day, and later, another Magda gave Jeremy a handful of fresh plums she had brought with her from her tree back home. Sweet Magdas!! We put them over our granola in the morning before heading back to the mundane. Such a treat.

On this trip we drove 1509 miles. Each mile, each place, like slipping a shiny new memory into the old memory bank. When you run, it's nice to put your head to the wind, go fast, and press forward. It takes so much energy to look behind you.

Just, don't.

Look forward.

Keep running.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Run, Part 3

Bandon By-The-Sea, is this itty- bitty sleepy seaside town down off 101 in Southern Oregon. If you weren't already looking for it, chances are, if you were headed up or down 101, you would go through it and not have even noticed it was there.

South Oregon highway 101 is like a dream. The Ocean is right there meandering with sandy beaches while magnificent rock jetties give it texture, and small mountains full of green timber almost hug into the sea. We drove through the early Summer evening to our destination, with soft music from William Fitzsimmons crooning through the stereo (Jeremy asked please, never again. That is not road trip music) but, it fit the evening with the sea fog that drifted into the highway as we cut through it on our way to Bandon. Soft. Pleasant. Soothing.

How did I find out about Bandon? I just happened to see Bandon surfing on Pinterest, one day. Plus, I saw it in Sunset magazine. What caught my eye was a quiet beach full of rock formations and a cute seaside town. Yes, I must go there someday, I told myself, and I can cross it off my list now. I went. And, Mikey likes it.

Bandon-By-The Sea:

We started, by finding a spot for Lavern. A quiet, tidy little RV park, just south of town.

After a good nights sleep, we did the town, and went to check out the little hidden jewels that Bandon has to offer.

The town. A cute little half asleep seaside town not much bigger than Vashon. Friendly locals, shops to meander through, and a giant lovely boardwalk to walk, and watch the dock where people crab.

Lots of trash washes up on the beach. No biggie. They just make art out of it. Clever.

If you ever go, there is this Chocolate boutique you must go to called "Coastal Mist." Now, I don't like chocolate all that much, but I had to try their famous sipping chocolate. Let me tell you. It was the best chocolate I have had in my life. Dark chocolate salted caramel sipping chocolate topped off with vanilla bean whipped cream. My advice? Do not share a cup, like I did. Keep it all to yourself.

There is also a cheese factory there. They make some fancy vampire slayer cheese that is a sharp white cheddar with roasted garlic. My advice, again? Get a brick, and don't share. Keep it all to yourself. : )

So, Bandon's claim to fame is their cranberry bogs. We were too early for cranberry season, so there was nothing to see, but still plenty to do. Next on the list? A walk through Safari.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I have mixed feelings about zoo's and animal parks like this, but, my curiosity got the best of me. What do you mean, "walk through Safari?" At the cashier before we headed in, the cashier asked, "You wanna buy food to feed them?" I looked at her with a surprised look because in my head I thought "well, nooo, I had no plans on feeding ANY tigers. I like my hand, er, arm." Then she informed me that there were a couple hundred animals milling about that will follow you all over the park when you get in the gate. Hmmmm......We passed on the food, but went through the gate, and saw this:

A very lazy llama basking in the sunshine, with deer, goats, peacocks, and other animals frolicking about.  The best thing, they love to be petted, and were surprisingly very friendly.

And my favorite animal, one I fell quickly in love with, was this baby donkey. We named him "Nachito."

I wanted to take him home with me something bad. He stole my heart.

And then there were the animals in cages. The big cats, the lion, the tiger, and the panthers. I can imagine having all this fresh meat walking around your cage all day would drive any animal batty. I kinda thought it would feel like being in a cage with a diet of only quinoa and having bacon parading around you all day, day after day. The cats didn't seem to blink twice at the goats and llamas, but once Nachito was around, they were on their feet, pacing wildly with a crazed look. A look of the hunt. All the cats took notice of him. I wasn't the only one that wanted him. It was creepy.

The chimp made me sad. She went from clapping and blowing raspberries with us to freaking out at other people, pounding her fists on the ceiling and chucking her poop. Girl, I don't blame you. I'd probably do it to if I were stuck in a cage being leered at.

And then there was Bear. His cage, it made me very nervous. His fence was short, and the electric fencing looked like something I would rig up for my chickens. Not a bear. Yipes!!!!

I left the Safari with a okay feeling. The cats, bear, and chimp made me very sad, but I felt like the animals were loved and cared for. Still, I like animals to be where they are meant to be, unless it is a sanctuary.

After washing the Safari off, it was time to head back to  town and eat some grub and dive into some of Bandon's yummiest seafood at the Bandon Fish Market.

Our last evening at Bandon was spent where my heart clicks into place. The place I came to this town for.

The Beach:

Bandon will always hold a special place in my heart. A sweet memory of playing on the beach for hours, just us, sea mist, the ocean and the rocks, eating the best fish and chips of my life, sipping chocolate, too, Holding a baby fox! and, having my heart stolen by a baby donkey, and having to madly take my pants off in a Dairy Queen parking lot. Don't worry. No one saw. Long story short, I was having a very strange rash reaction to the sea water from playing in the surf and the pants had to come off. Couldn't wait any longer. But I still got my ice cream, so it was all good. No shoes, no shirt, no service. I see nothing that says anything about pants. : )

Leaving Bandon was hard, we wanted to stay longer, but there was one last leg of the trip.

It was time to head home via a stop in Silverton and see what that is all about.

To be continued....Last Run post, I promise! : )