Tuesday, May 31, 2011


2011 has been an unusual year for us, with far fewer miles under our wheels than usual, thanks to the renovation project and Odel’s knee replacement surgery.  Funny, we wanted to get that underway no later than early April, so we could roll on out of Sacramento before the arrival of hot weather.  After TEN weeks in the Sacramento area pre- and post-surgery, we were cleared to hit the road mid-May.

Outback 6While we had been planning to head north from Sacramento, up I-5 to Oregon, the weather has been uncooperative – cool, gray, and rainy on most of the days in the ten-day forecast.  We decided that Napa’s weather looked more appealing, so came here to await the arrival of sunshine up north.  And waited, and waited…  Eventually, we extended our stay in Napa to cover the Memorial Day holiday (two weeks, total) and continued to patrol www.weather.com regularly.

Well, rain on the rooftop awoke us last night, and it rained all morning today.  All thoughts of waiting another day or two left our heads; why outwait the drizzle in Oregon while sitting in drizzle in California?  So, we are heading north tomorrow, and the idea has energized both of us.  We’ve filled our rainy day (so far) with grocery shopping, a trip to Trader Joe’s (yes, technically, that is grocery shopping, but it is FUN grocery shopping), and a stop at Target.  As always, we will travel with enough food to feed an extended family for a week, our usual disaster-preparedness plan.  :)

Memorial Day dinnerYesterday, though cold and blustery, was dry.  We had plans for a Memorial Day cookout with Gisela and Bill, and ended up with a full buffet table to complement the fancy sausages we purchased at The Fatted Calf, a butcher shop in Napa.  Besides a brochette of pork, a spicy Fennel Italian sausage and a pork-and-braised-greens sausage, we had a Duck Crepinette, something new to us.  Here is their description from the website: 

Duck Crepinettes with Prunes and Almonds: savory duck sausage with star anise, prunes, almonds & caramelized onions, made from naturally raised Liberty Farm ducks from Sonoma County, pasture raised pork, organic herbs, prunes, Massa organic almonds, organic onions, sea salt and spices.

It was darn good!  Along with the sausages we each grilled, we had plenty of vino, broccoli salad, honeyed lentils and garbanzos, grilled apricots, and Thai pineapple relish, delicious on the grilled meats.  With our sweatshirts zipped up to our chins, constantly moving our chairs out of the lengthening shadows, we pretended it was summertime.

I received a warm and surprising email recently, commenting on our campsite reviews.  Although I link to the campground reviews from posts on this blog, I post them on a separate blog, We Called It Home.  Originally, the reviews I post on We Called It Home weren’t intended for anything but my own private use – a place to easily find the details of campgrounds we had visited in that past.  It is astounding to me how frequently we can’t remember whether we had 50 amps, whether our site had a sewer connection, whether our phones worked there! 

Since searching my written log is a tedious way to find those details, I prefer to keep the reviews on a blog, easily searched (without the need to remember when we visited).   After a few people asked me about a particular campground and I sent them a link to my online review, I decided to move the blog into the public realm.  Apparently other readers find it useful, too – we now have followers and the site gets a fair amount of use. 

The correspondent mentioned that I hadn’t posted any reviews since March, and he is correct.  As I explained to him, I usually don’t post a new campsite review when we revisit a campground already reviewed; I simply update the review with any minor changes (like price increases) and link to it again.  Occasionally I write a new review if there have been substantial changes (new sites opened, or major improvements), but that is rare.  This link to We Called It Home explains what is important to us about a campground and what you will find in our reviews.  Don’t look for phone numbers, addresses or directions – I rarely include that information.

Bathhouse 2 The Pool

The ancient bathhouse at Summer Lake Hot Springs

Inside the bathhouse, water enters at 105 degrees.

We enjoy our travels most when we visit places both known and new to us, campgrounds we’ve enjoyed in the past and others that entice us to give them a try.  We’ve always wanted to return to Summer Lake Hot Springs (photos above, and top photo), a campground we visited in 2007, before I began the online reviews.  Maybe this will be the year?  Though the Pacific Northwest is an area we’ve traveled frequently, here’s hoping we’ll have a few new campgrounds to add to the mix – and some sunshine!

Safe travels, all.


  1. Safe travels as you move north, Laurie. It's 43 degrees, with sleet in the rain here right now, so hopefully the west side will be warmer. That dinner looked really fabulous, by the way. Hard to find that kind of food around here, except I will have kale in my greenhouse soon. Can you believe I live sooo close and have never been to the Summer Lake Hot Springs? Now I have to go.

  2. It has been bad weather here in the northeast as well. Nova Scotia has has an exceptionally wet and cool May. But the last two days have been beautiful, so lets hope the tides have turned!


  3. Safe travels and good luck avoiding the rain!

  4. That plate of food looked DELICIOUS and it made me hungry! I hope you find some sunshine. There's plenty here, but it's 95 degrees and humid as well!

  5. Some of the barns out here in rural Kansas are in worse shape than that hot springs bath house, but not by much. We generally don't go into the barns because of safety issues, LOL.

    I hope it warms up as you head on into Oregon...


  6. I can't believe the rain this year in the Santa Cruz Mountains. May 31st, and we are sitting in front of a fire this evening.

  7. Can't believe it is June 1st tomorrow and still coldish & weepy here in Central Oregon. If u pass thru Bend would love to meet u. Been following your surgery & recovery. Take Care .. loreetanner@gmail.com

  8. I love the sausage idea (Hot Italian Turkey are my fav's)..and the broccoli salad look scrumptious, as did EVERYTHING!! Love the coast of Oregon...Have fun!!

  9. What's that honeyed lentil and garbonzo recipe?
    That sounds wonderful!


  10. Oregon is a second home for us. Jerry grew up in Oregon (just until age 11), we honeymooned in Oregon, and in early retirement moved to Oregon until Suzy aged enough to get Medicare. And we visit whenever we can. We are anxious to see where you go and what you do, especially if you'll tell us more about the hot spring place!
    We are delaying our leaving Carson City by one day because of predicted storm over our route crossing the Sierra. DOn't mind rain,. but we don't like driving through snow and ice when it's windy!

  11. Hope you find sunshine soon....
    Have fun & Travel safe
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Donna

  12. Get on your mark, get set, GO! Looking forward to following your travels.

  13. Drooooling over your food there in Napa!
    By the way I'm one of your big fans of the campsite reviews. Found that site back when we were in FL and immediately bookmarked it. LOVE the reviews!

  14. We loved Oregon and Washington last spring but it rained on us most of the time we were there. I think we're going to shoot for fall the next time we go. But with our luck it would probably snow. But I sure do like it out there.

  15. Seems like nearly every time I read your blog I end up hungry. You sure do eat some GOOD food.

    Wanted you to know I love your campground reviews too.