Sunday, September 30, 2007


Yes, that is snow! Beautiful though it is, it signaled an end to our Wallowa Lake visit.

We had made a reservation at Wallowa Lake State Park a couple of weeks ago, planning to stay four days. We had been told how beautiful it was ("the alps of Oregon"), and had a long list of things to do there - mostly high country drives and hikes. A tram, within walking distance of the campground. takes hikers to the top of a nearby peak for hiking and sightseeing. The town of Joseph, 6 miles away, is developing a reputation as an "art town", and is on the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, one of the drives we were happily anticipating.

When we arrived on Thursday afternoon, the weather was perfect. Campers strolled the park in t-shirts, including us. I only snapped a few photos, since the sun was high in the sky... I figured I would take more photos of the mountains and lake on Friday, earlier in the day.

This, a view from our campsite, is one of the few pictures I have of that innocent time!

When we set up Scoopy, we got a pleasant surprise: our roof-mounted TV satellite dish was somehow able to find a little opening in the trees and lock in on the satellite, a fact we came to appreciate as a miracle later.

We did our usual "day of arrival" stuff: went to the Forest Service visitor center to get maps of trails in the area, got the detailed local lowdown on the drives we planned to take (up to 7,000 ft. elevation), local maps...

We went for a walk around the park and campground, admiring the lake, chatting with the volunteer hosts, and taking photos of the incredibly (I probably should say "annoyingly") tame deer in the campground.

How would you like to come home to find this well-fed buck guarding your front door?? When Odel and I joked with the volunteer about whether or not you should kick him to make him move, she showed us a newspaper article that was posted prominently in several places in the park, detailing an attack on a couple (and their dog) by a doe... the woman ended up in the hospital. No kidding!

So we went to bed Thursday night fat, dumb, and happy, planning a high-country drive for the next day. Friday dawned sunny and calm... for about 5 minutes. Before long, fast moving clouds hid the sun. By the time we were up, dressed, and fed, sprinkles were falling.

I think we reached the high for the day - in the low 50's - by noon, and it went down fast from there. Around 1 pm, I decided to leave Odel watching golf (hurray for the satellite TV!) while I went off to explore the little town (1,200 pop.) of Joseph.

It was FREEZING, drizzling rain and blowing wind, when I got out of the car. My first stop was Wolfe Fleece Company, an entire (small) store of nothing but fleece goods, all made right there in Joseph. I immediately bought myself a fleece hat, fleece gloves, and fleece socks, along with fleece socks for Odel and a fleece catnip toy for Luna. Thus fortified - wearing my new hat and gloves - off I went to explore.

It was absolutely raw outside... and then the drizzle turned to sleet, and the sleet had white flakes mixed in. I hopped back into the car and took off for the campground. Needless to say, there were no invigorating hikes that day, and no high-country scenic byways!
We huddled inside, furnace blasting, and watched the weather channel, our only source of news about this unexpected event: "unseasonably" cold weather was moving into the Pacific Northwest, the "storm door" had opened, Portland and Seattle could expect a week of drenching rain from "unusually energetic" storms, and the higher elevations could expect snow.

One bright spot: there would be a lull between storms on Saturday.

As I tried to sleep on Friday night, peeking out occasionally to watch the snow fall, I knew that I did not want to travel back over the winding pass between Joseph and La Grande in snow, nor did I want to hike in snow, or drive a remote, 23 mile long, gravel road to the best lookout point in snow. We could either stay until Monday, as planned, and take our chances with the incoming weather, or leave on Saturday, going where we would be in rain instead of snow.

When we awoke to this scene, the answer was clear to me: get out while we can!

We put on our fleece hats and gloves and headed outside. Odel dug an ice scraper out of the back of the Jeep (wow, we have one of those??) and cleaned the ice and snow off the Jeep, while I knocked it off our chairs, where we had enjoyed a glass of wine in the sunshine the afternoon before.

It was another BEAUTIFUL day... cooler, but sunny. With misgivings, we left at noon, after the roads dried. The fall colors glowed. It was difficult to believe more cold and wet weather was on the way, and I second-guessed our decision as we headed to Pendleton

Look at lower right hand corner of this photo. See that deer about to dash in front of us?? It was number four in a group. You know how they do... the lead deer runs across while you are well back, followed by another. Then number three surprises you as you get close. Just about the time you breathe a sigh of relief, number four, still trying to decide whether or not to cross, appears from nowhere and bounds across the road. Luckily for us all, we were moving very slowly at that point. She lived.

The rest of the ride was blessedly uneventful. The countryside was golden, with blazes of red and gold leaves. This is the view on the descent into Pendleton on Interstate 84, a long, steep grade.

We pulled into an RV park not far from town at an Indian casino, next to a manicured, green golf course. Once again, a beautiful afternoon... we walked to the course in sunshine and Odel started dreaming about playing 18 holes.

Now, as I write this at 7 am, the wind is blowing, the sky is completely gray, and rain is beginning to fall. I am grateful to be here, where I don't worry that it will turn to snow and where our broadband internet connection allows us to check weather and radar images with just a few keystrokes! We'll leave the glories of Hells Canyon Scenic Bypass and the Wallowa Mountains for another time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


We're off this morning to our next stop, Oregon's "alps". We have a reservation at Wallowa Lake State Park, surrounded by high mountains in the northeast corner of Oregon.

Before we go, I wanted to post some of the photos I took yesterday. We had a beautiful and fascinating sightseeing trip (perfect weather yet again, as you can see), a 110 mile loop to the west of Baker City in the Blue Mountains.

Our first stop was a state park in Sumpter, Oregon, home to (according to the volunteer) the only reconstructed (read "still above water") gold dredge in the continguous 48 states. This was completely absorbing, with great intrepretive plaques explaining how these giant dredges worked.

The dredge is so HUGE that I had a very difficult time getting a photo of the entire thing from a close enough position to show detail. Here it is in it's "natural" setting, sitting in a small pond surrounded by the tailings that it dug, processed, and dumped while operating.

This is so reminiscent of the tailings in the Gold River area of Sacramento, and all along the American River. We have looked at the mounds of tailings so often when we lived there; now I understand more clearly how the earth was moved.

See that tall mountain in the far background? That was our next stop.

This photo is from one of the interpretive panels, showing the dredge while it was still operating, but near the end of it's useful life, I believe. When this dredge quit operating (I don't remember the exact year, but it was in the 1940's or 50's - much later than I would have guessed), it was $100,000 in debt. It must have cost a fortune to keep operating - electricity to run it, constant repairs, and the cold winter weather...

After our visit to the dredge, we drove up, up, up to Anthony Lake, next door to Baker City's nearest ski area. There were a half a dozen people there fishing; we didn't see any other hikers.

Our hike started at Anthony Lake, but quickly took off to Hoffer Lake, reached only on foot and nestled in a high, rock-rimmed bowl. As soon as we struck off up the trail, we left all other visitors behind and spent a wonderful, solitary hour wandering around in the fall colors under the brilliant blue sky. What a great day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Here is a little game for you all. I came across this display at an art gallery on the main street
of the "historic" section of Baker City. This area has great old buildings, small shops and restaurants that appeal to residents and tourists alike... and an art gallery.

Send along a comment (click on "Comments" at the end of the posting) if you think you know what these are. I'll post the answer in a week or so.

Above: Art works on display in the gallery. Double click on the photo to enlarge it.

Above and below: close-up photos of two of my favorite works.


It appears that we hit this part of Oregon at exactly the right time. We are having wonderful weather, sunny and cool with a definite touch of fall.

Tomorrow we are planning a long day of sightseeing, traveling one of the many "Oregon Scenic Byways" in the area. The one we have chosen heads up into the nearby mountains to visit some of the gold rush ghost towns and a couple of lakes; I hope we will get high enough for good fall color.

I took the first photo, of the barns, as we drove the last leg of our trip to Dayville on Sunday. The entire drive was SO beautiful, it was very difficult to chose which photos to include here!

We have had an unsettling vibration when driving the Jeep recently, and decided we had to have it checked out before our explorations in the remote areas we plan visit, so arrived early in Baker City on Tuesday. After a phone call to arrange an appointment with a mechanic, we took off for the Oregon Trail.

Yes, the real OREGON TRAIL, the one you learned about in history classes. Baker City was on the route, and traces of the "ruts" are still visible in the hills here. This marker (it says "Oregon Trail") and others like it were put in place by the BLM to make sure the remnants of the trail don't completely disappear; much of it has been paved over, or plowed under.

Over 300,000 people used the trail, taking anywhere from 4 to 6 months to travel from Missouri to Oregon City (very near to where we stayed in Canby earlier this summer). A wonderfully interesting visitor center describes the trail and the trip - very graphically.

One in every 10 people who set out on the trail died, and at some points, graves lined the trail. Imagine how depressing - and scary - it would be to travel those stretches, wondering if YOU or another of your loved ones, would be next.

This replica of a typical wagon sits on the actual trail; in this photo you can see the intrepretive center at the top of the hill. A long switchback trail leads from the center to the wagon, and the diary entries I had read in the intrepretive center replayed in my head as we hiked down the trail.

Wow - I felt SO grateful... for maps. Credit cards. A refrigerator. Water that comes out of a tap. Electricity. Clean clothes. Grocery stores. Mechanics!

Speaking of mechanics, Odel took Jules into the shop this morning. Turns out our front left tire has "cupping"; the mechanic suggested we take Jules to a tire shop to have the tires balanced and rotated, which Odel did. Problem solved.

I had to share this one last photo with you. I took it on the grounds of the Fish House Inn and RV Park, where we stayed in Dayville. The property is actually more like a small farm, and this cat was sitting in the sun in the open barn as we walked past in the morning. Such a tranquil rural scene.

Monday, September 24, 2007


What a beautiful drive we had yesterday!

Richard Dopp, our friend in Canby, did everything in his power to get us out on his favorite scenic drives through central Oregon. Richard, you were absolutely right about the Painted Hills - breathtaking!

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument consists of three separate units in remote locations in central Oregon. Our first stop was the Painted Hills unit, six miles off the main road. We pulled into the picnic area driving Scoopy and pulling Jules, enroute to our stop for the night. We made a good decision when we parked in the picnic area instead of continuing up a gravel road to the overlook and the hikes.

We had the picnic area to ourselves - plenty of parking for our big rig! We unhooked Jules and drove a mile or two to an overlook and were so inspired by the scenery that we hiked two of the trails before lunch.

It was perfect day for hiking, calm, sunny, and cool, with big clouds moving quickly overhead. I took a photo everytime the light changed, about 60 in all. No self-control!

Back at the picnic area, we took our sandwiches and Luna over to the picnic tables just out of sight on the lush, green lawn. She LOVED it; stuck a paw down every gopher (or ??) hole, climbed trees, tore around the lawn. So, we all got some exercise.

We ended our travels in the tiny town of Dayville at a darling little spot called Fish House Inn & RV Park. As soon as we settled in to our site, we jumped into Jules and went to explore the Sheep Rock unit of the national monument and take another short hike into a "badlands" area where lots of fossils have been unearthed. It was late in the day and once again the play of light and shadow was the star of the show.

I took this shot on the road between the national monument and our RV park. It is very typical of this area of large ranches and deeply folded hillsides.

None of these photos show the other aspect of our drive that was so beautiful - the forested mountain passes we traversed. I have LOTS of photos of those, too - but the Painted Hills and open ranch lands were the most striking of the varied vistas we enjoyed.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Bend is beautiful this time of year. We had planned to enjoy way more of it than we did...

Bend is way bigger than I thought, upwards of 75,000 - big enough to have a Costco (no Trader Joe's, though). Lots of car dealerships, too, which stole the leisure time we would normally have used to explore the interesting downtown area of Bend.

Instead, since we have decided that we need to replace the Jeep (when we find the right replacement vehicle), we ended up spending a lot of time test driving used vehicles (a Honda Element and a Honda CR-v) and researching their suitability as a dinghy.

As always, our first priority each day is to get our 10,000 steps, and we DID see beautiful sights on our walks. This is the Deschutes River where it passes through the northern part of Bend, not far from the Elks Lodge where we stayed.

Today we are leaving to head east. Our first stop will be near the town on John Day, which looks, on the map, like the middle of nowhere. We'll see!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Today we had an intimate experience with SAND! The extensive Oregon Dunes run along the coast here, both north and south of Winchester Bay. ATV fans have designated spots for riding their "quads" on the dunes; hikers have their own, quieter sections.

Here at Winchester Bay, we are near an ATV riding area, and ATV's are ridden, quite sedately, from the campgrounds to the dunes. Our friend Jim mentioned that he might like to rent an ATV, which reminded me of something that had caught my eye previously: a dune "sand rail" that could hold several people, driven by an experienced, thrill-seeking, driver.

I did a little research and, before anyone had time to change their mind, arranged our half hour ride on a 6 passenger sand rail. We (Odel, me, Jim, Diane, and their friends Bibbi and Paul) arrived at the appointed hour, all smiles as we loaded ourselves aboard the "rail".

Our driver then told us to wipe off all lipstick and chapstick (sand sticks to it), to turn our caps backwards or take them off, to zip everything we were carrying into pockets or leave it behind. Hmmm... then strapped us very firmly into our seats with chest harnesses and gave us each a pair of well padded, tight fitting goggles!

Off we went, along a soft, sandy road through heavy forest. A few bounces, nothing too exciting, and then we broke out onto the dunes. It was a beautiful day, and sunshine bounced off the gorgeous dunes. Then we were OFF! We TORE, bounced, screamed, chewed sand (literally). Our driver screamed up dunes so high and steep you couldn't imagine what was over the top, which often was nothing but a steep downhill.

This picture of Jim, in the backseat, is a pretty accurate shot of what we looked like whenever we stopped - a little shell-shocked, spittin' sand. Jeff, our driver, stopped three or four times so we could take in the views, catch our breath, and simply enjoy being on the dunes on such a beautiful day... then we'd slide over the side of a dune and tear off again.

It was a rollercoaster without the rails. I loved it, speeding along, laughing and screaming with excitement and rushing with adrenelin. I can now much better understand the thrill and enjoyment some people get from riding ATV's, though I was happy to be in the hands of an experienced driver (and will stick to hiking, myself). Highly recommended by me.

Tomorrow we are leaving Winchester Bay and the Oregon coast. We'll be spending a night in Eugene to clean and restock after drycamping here at the coast, then are heading off for several weeks exploration of eastern Oregon - the "dry side", with much smaller towns.

I have no idea whether we will have internet access; don't be surprised if updates to the blog are less frequent. Our plans include a couple nights in Bend; a visit to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument; a few nights in Baker City and a visit to the Oregon Trail Museum; several nights at Wallowa Lake State Park in the "alps" of Oregon; a few nights in Pendleton; several nights near the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and the Steens Mountains (dry) in southeastern Oregon. All new territory for us after three months in favorite, familiar spots. Off we go!

Monday, September 17, 2007


It is 5:30 in the evening, and I am reclining in my lounge chair admiring the sunny, sparkling view out the big front windows. We are facing west, 20 or 30 yards from the water, where I can watch the little fishing boats leave the bay. Gulls are wheeling and the mast lines of the sailboats in the marina are snapping. It is an iconic end-of-summer coastal scene, cool and breezy.

You can see from this photo how the heavily forested hills come right down to the bay. This is a truly beautiful spot, though the beauty of the place seems secondary to most of the people here - serious fisherfolk and crabbers.

Charter fishing boats leave the bay daily and come back with halibut and tuna; the docks and crabbing pier are busy with people setting and hauling their crab pots (not very good luck this week, though).

When Odel played golf today, I joined friends for a walk around the marina. A young man leaving the charter boat area was carrying these two big squid back to his camp (for crab bait). Elaine - an avid fisherwoman and crabber - posed with them (probably wanted to grab 'em for her own crab pots). Mary and Elaine gave Odel and I two cleaned, cooked crabs - YUM!

Many people come here to stay weeks, or a month, or longer. Us "drycampers" pay $10 a day for an asphalt parking space (with million dollar view), access to bathrooms with showers, and a dump station. Prices go up from there, to $36/night for a full hookup site (water, electricity, and a sewer connection) with a grass yard and picnic table (and the million dollar view). The high-end sites are always full, and the drycamping sites are busy, busy, busy as well. A fascinating slice of life.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


It's one of our favorite gatherings - the Roving Rods, a group of fishing (and non-fishing) RV'ers, gather at Salmon Harbor on the Oregon coast to catch CRAB. We came as guests of members our first year, joined the Roving Rods (in spite of our lack of interest in fishing) the second time we visited.

Why? Because it is such a FUN group. Friendly, social... and they meet here in such a beautiful place. That's our friend Elaine laughing in the background while fisherfolk claim fish carcasses as crab bait for tomorrow's crab pots.

We arrived this afternoon for our third year, and will stay until the weather gets unpleasant or we run out of water. If the weather stays good, sunny and cool... well, we can always take on more water!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


It felt like home to get back to "our site" at the Dopp's house in Canby. Luna was particularly happy to be back and free to roam about. I took this photo on our first evening there, as we enjoyed happy hour on the deck before dinner.

I strolled through the garden as soon as we set up, looking at the many changes in the three weeks (is that all??) since we left. It definitely is near the end of the season, but new bean plants have come into flower, the single zucchini plant has tripled in size, and the cucumbers that almost overtook us in August now look tired and ready to give up.

Odel rose EARLY this morning to head to the golf course with Richard. After I had a leisurely breakfast, I hopped in the passenger seat with Marlene at the wheel, and had a chance to be a NON-navigating passenger for a change. Marlene's interests are so similar to my own that I figured I'd enjoy wherever it was she was going.

First stop: Penzey's Spices, a fabulous retail outlet of a catalog store that sells every imaginable spice. What I LOVED was that, sitting next to just about each spice, was an apothecary jar with at least a cup of the spice in it, ready to be studied and sniffed. I ended up with a few spices I knew I needed, and a few more that will need "research" before I find the right use for them, but they smelled irresistably good.

We made a quick stop at a small natural foods store, then on to Bob's Red Mill, the mothership of natural grains and stoneground flours. They ship worldwide, and this is the company headquarters.

Wow, what a place. Row upon row upon row of bins and packages of beans, grains, flours, nuts, dried fruit... plus a pleasant cafe and outdoor patio. We took a little coffee break and did a little shopping.

Browsing around, I found a teeny, tiny little grain ("the world's smallest grain") called Teff. For some reason, I had it in my head that I had read about Teff on a foodie's blog, so I bought a package, intending to write to her to learn how to use it. Well, I was wrong... no mention of Teff on her blog. So, I Googled it, finding very few entries and even fewer recipes. Turns out it is primarily used to make an Ethopian flatbread. Hmmmmm.

Fortunately, there are a couple of recipes on the package - for a breakfast cereal and a pudding - so maybe I'll get some use out of it. Perhaps a potluck dish of Teff porriage at the next SKP function?? I doubt that anyone else will be bringing it. :)

We still had a bit of time before the golf game ended, so made a couple more stops. At the last, an independent book store, we both bought the same book, Grub, Ideas for An Urban Organic Kitchen - got the last two copies - and I read recipes aloud to Marlene while she drove home... Citrus Collards with Raisins, Cinnamon-Dusted Sweet Potato Fries, Tropical Corn Dumplings with Maple Syrup and Star Anise (darn, why hadn't I pickup up any star anise at Penzey's!). We realized we were HUNGRY!

As soon as we got home, we all four jumped back into the car and rushed off to Wong's King Seafood, a Chinese restaurant in Portland reputed to serve excellent Dim Sum. I originally read about it on our friend Padraic's blog, and "lifted" this photo from there. Turns out Padraic got it off another site, the Portland Food, Restaurant, and Market Guide, a thorough discussion of the food scene in Portland. WHY didn't I find this site sooner???

Our friends Diane and Frank came to meet us at Wong's for Dim Sum. They had met the Dopps last spring in Stockton at an SKP gathering, so no one was a stranger and we had a tasty and unusual meal together.

Tomorrow we say farewell to the Dopps and continue on towards the coast (with a short stop in Eugene). It was definitely good fortune for us when we answered their posting for garden sitters... we made two good friends who we will look forward to seeing again.

Monday, September 10, 2007


With temperatures in Portland today forecast to be around 90 degrees, we went in the other direction, heading east along the Columbia. We chose a hike on the south side of the river, through the dappled light on the shady north side of the bluffs, climbing way, way, way up to Angel's Rest. Look at this fabulous view!

It was great to hit the trail again, and put me into the mood to get moving. As much as I have enjoyed the cool summer weather here in Oregon and Washington, after three months, I'm ready to see new sights. We're fine-tuning our plans to visit new-to-us parts of eastern Oregon ... I can't wait!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Living in campgrounds as we do, and attempting to stay in our favored temperature range of daytime highs of 65 to 75 (and we have variations on that, depending on cloud cover, humidity, wind, etc.!), summer is not our favorite time of the year for travel. We marked the passing of the Labor Day holiday with smiles and a sigh of relief. Now the weather cools, the vacationing families return to their homes, jobs and schools... life returns to "normal".

We're back in Oregon, deployed in a small RV park at the western end of the Columbia River Gorge (east side of Portland) for 4 days - good access to both the hikes in the Gorge and activities in Portland.

Last night - Saturday - we made plans to meet our friends Diane and Frank for our version of a night on the town: take the metro into the city center for our 6 pm dinner reservation - yes, we are one short step from the Early Bird Special.

It is just a couple of miles from our RV park to the Tri-Met (the Portland metro) station, then a 45 minute ride downtown. The metro stopped right in front of the Lebanese restaurant (Habibi) where we had our reservation... no worries about getting lost!

After dinner, we walked over to Pioneer Square, the main downtown plaza. Each time we have been there, something interesting was going on; last night, there was a band playing, with vendor canopies set up along the sides. The square was PACKED.

The sun had just set, the downtown lights were coming on, the music filled the air and the crowd moved to the beat.

We had plenty of time to enjoy it as we walked from one Tri-Met ticket machine to the next, looking for one that would issue tickets. Usually, any machine will accept bills (and make change), coins, and credit cards. Our tickets were only $2.05 each... but the first four ticket machines would take only coins.

We tried our credit cards, we watched other would-be riders puzzle through the same process... "What, no bills? Do you have enough change? No? Well, we'll use out credit card. Hey, it's not working! It cancelled my transaction! What's up with that???" Try the next corner, then the next... and eventually we had tickets.

Riding the metro at night, from the center of the city to an outlying suburb, is really a different slice of life for us. Although we don't have a lot in common with vacationing families, the typical mix in an RV park or campground is rather homogeneous. Well, there aren't a lot of retired fulltimers on the metro!

We mingled with the folks who are more likely to be using public transportation because they don't have a personal vehicle than they are to be on the metro for fun and convenience. We got a good lesson in current tennage fashion, brushed up on our Spanish (besides the conversation around us, metro announcements are in both English and Spanish), waved and winked at shy kids, watched the die-hard smokers suck on un-lite cigarettes as they awaited their stop and a chance to light up. By the time we got to the very last stop, ours, my heinie was tired and so was I. Another Saturday night!

Friday, September 7, 2007


This is not a photo I took (I don't even know this dog!), but it is a photo I love. This look - the smile, the closed eyes, the relaxed ears - captures the essence of joy. I can't help but smile when I see it.

I believe it is the photo used for one of the Kiva lenders, on their lender page. Since the airing of Oprah's "Giving" show earlier this week, and the release of Bill Clinton's new book that mentions Kiva, I no longer need to try to "get the word out". The Kiva site has been overwhelmed with new lenders, so much so that there are rarely borrowers available on the site - those that appear are fully funded in minutes. The power of Oprah!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Port Townsend is one of our favorite places. Good energy here! The town seems populated with creative people who care about their community, the environment, art, food... stuff we like, too.

This particular visit has been especially fun because we got to visit with our friends Ann and David, and their gang of wine-appreciating, food-loving friends. Now, here is something you don't see every day:

Crispin B. Hollinshead (yes, that really is his name) has been growing a beard for 35 years. When I first saw him, it was "styled" into an interesting vortex that immediately grabbed my attention. He posed for this series to show us all how to create a unique beard "do".

First, stretch the beard. (I am fairly certain the tongue stretch is optional.)

Next, twist, twist, twist... Make the beard into a tight twist that practically knots itself up. Crispin had a little rubber band to hold the twist into a tight little ball, which he then...

...poked around behind itself, creating this tidy sort of french twist. Crispin, thanks for your cheerful demonstration.

We had planned to leave Port Townsend this morning, but received one more invitation that we could not pass up: Elaine and Mary were returning from their salmon fishing trip with salmon, both fresh and smoked, and Ann and David were hosting the dinner party at their place. Yeah, yeah, yeah, more great food, great wine, great company, sunshine and the water view... and for this, we passed up a night in a gravel parking lot in Kelso, Washington? Port Townsend - it makes you crazy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


My sister Sydney and her husband Frank, artists in Bisbee, Arizona, have joined Kiva. Frank, a photographer, was able to join on a loan to a fellow photographer in Paraguay who needed $600 to invest in a DVD burner. That is the kind of connection that makes Kiva lending so addictive.

Sydney commented that they decided to join Kiva now because the organization will be mentioned on Oprah TODAY... big, big, big publicity. Even the brief mention on the Today show yesterday brought a slew of new lenders; borrowers needs are being funded in record time.

Now there is even BIGGER news about publicity - I lifted this quote from the posting of a Kiva staff member on Kiva Friends:

" is mentioned in President Clinton's new book "Giving" which is released today. Premal Shah will be attending the book release press event in Harlem, along with 3 Kiva Lenders. 2 Kiva stories are included on the website for the book (which I can't find right now, did they take it down?) written by 2 Kiva lenders - Glenda being one of them! (My note: Glenda is one of the very active Kiva Friends.)

"So, this is going to be a HUGE week for Kiva. We'll probably run out of businesses, but the good news is that we'll have SO many new lenders!! Yesterday we received $100k in loan funds as a result of the Today Show - and that was WITH the $25 cap on (lenders were only able to lend $25 at a time).

"Tonight, make a toast to Kiva - our lenders (that's you!), our entrepreneurs, our partners, our volunteers and our staff, who all work so hard together as one big team to make a difference in the world, one loan at a time."

We Kiva addicts who meet and share with each other on Kiva Friends are abuzz! Finally, as one Kiva Friend said, "Now, when I mention Kiva, other people will know what I am talking about!"

I have added links to Syd's and Frank's lender pages to the left side of our blog.

Monday, September 3, 2007


We do many fun and interesting things that don't make it to the blog. I have the best intentions of sharing, but it doesn't always happen. I don't have good photo for illustration, or I get caught up in other online activities, or I have so MANY photos I can't decide which to post, or how to tie them together.

Every so often I "clear the decks" and accept that certain "noteworthy" items will remain undescribed; believe it or not, this includes some memorable meals (like the delicious Thai-Style Curried Mussels we had last night - we are on a mussel-eating binge).

Still, I couldn't let this photo languish, as it represents to me one of the fun experiences we have in our travels: meeting in person an individual we have only met online. (It is more accurate to say "I have met online", as I am the official correspondent for this team.)

It is a big step to go from the enjoyment of a "virtual" friendship, born of similar interests shared in thoughfully crafted posts on online forums and later nutured in personal email exchanges, to the reality of meeting in the "real" world. Actually, I seldom suggest it.

However, I didn't want to leave this area of the Pacific Northwest without giving a hug to a particularly interesting online friend, so Odel and I spent a recent afternoon matching a face to signature. It was a grand time, and I snapped this photo from her porch as the sun disappeared behind the Olympic Mountains, towering over the Hood Canal, while we relaxed with our new friends.

Traveling as we do has widely expanded our circle of friends, both in the real world and in the virtual reality of forums, blogs, and emails. I had a funny experience the other day: an email friend wrote to me with a link to a blog that described the Epicurian Excursion walking tour that Odel and I had taken in Portland. After reading Jo and Fred Wishnies' wonderful blog, I contacted Jo to rave about it.

In her reply, Jo revealed to me that it was our blog that turned her on to the Epicurian Excursion in the first place. Funny, huh? The Wishnies' Trip Journal is excellent; I hope we can meet up with them someday.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Another member of our family is now a Kiva lender... The lender page for Odel's niece, Audrey, is now linked to our blog.

Kiva is about to get a big dose of publicity. The big news among Kivans last week was that the Today show is doing a piece on Kiva on Monday, Sept 3 (Labor Day). Even bigger: barring a change in scheduling, Kiva will be part of the Oprah show on Tuesday, when Oprah interviews Bill Clinton for a segment on his new book, Giving.

Matt Flannery, one of the co-founders of Kiva, has a great post on his blog that describes what is was like for him to participate in the taping of the show. It's a good read!