Friday, August 19, 2011


Thanks to Grant and Kathy, we found delicious chowder in Newport!  The place to go is Georgie’s Grill, a restaurant associated with a hotel, right on the beach.  The view was incredible (beach, waves, blue Pacific ocean, blue sky, and a few hearty souls braving the strong, chilly wind); the chowder a cut above anything we’ve tasted for quite awhile.

I getting ahead of my story, though.  Food!  Such a distraction!.

Tunnel at the Newport AquariumOur last day in Newport began with a trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  We hadn’t visited an aquarium for years; in fact, I think the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, is the only one I have ever visited.  We’d heard good reviews of the aquarium in Newport, so were there just a few minutes after 9 am, when the door opened – which translated to “no crowds”. 

We strode straight to the back of the exhibits, to the tunnels… you know, where you walk through a glass tunnel goggling at the fish all around you, including overhead.  SO COOL!   Lots of fish (including all kinds of sharks), no folks.

After dilly-dallying in the tunnels to our heart’s content, we went on to examine all the remaining exhibits… except for the turkey vulture aviary, which made us laugh!  To us, turkey vultures are such a common (and ugly) sight, it seemed hilarious that they would have their own exhibit!  Birds?  bring on the puffins, those stubby, colorful little clowns!  We got such a kick out of the puffin taking a rowdy bath a few feet from us.

What else?  The sea otters floating on their backs, playing with toys; the seals and sea lions cruising gracefully around their tank.  The jellyfish!  We totally enjoyed ourselves, departing just as a busload of kids disembarked and came streaming down the entrance ramp.  Excellent timing!  $13.75 for seniors (65+); two bucks more for those under age 65.  Worth it.

Then we were off to visit Grant and Kathy, staying at a nearby RV park.  They’ve been in Newport for several days, so had already sussed out the restaurant scene.  They had several suggestions, and I fell for the one they described as “a bit more upscale, with a great view” (they had already eaten there twice).  Georgie’s Grill not only has a great view, but very good clam chowder (I commend Odel for not fighting me off as I came back for several more tastes), a menu rich in non-fried seafood, and excellent, friendly service.  A winner.

Brown jelliesGrant and Kathy are birders (their blog motto: Seeing North America One Bird At a Time) who have done considerable volunteering, including three lighthouse stints along the Oregon coast.  We met once, very briefly, in Tucson a few years ago, and have many mutual friends, but this was the first time we have been able to have a relaxed and prolonged conversation.  It was a good, good visit. 

After that, nothing exciting… a trip to the grocery store, filled up the Jeep’s gas tank, Odel washed the Jeep, I added a couple campground reviews to the campground blog.  We traded emails with several people we plan to see in the next month, and began thinking about where we wanted to sit out the Labor Day weekend.  The usual downtime!  :)

In other news:  Hello to our newest followers.  Our “number” hung in at 299 for the longest time, then suddenly popped up to 303.  I am certainly one of the least conscientious RV bloggers when it comes to recognizing and welcoming new followers, but it does make me happy to know that readers “out there” (somewhere) find something of value here.  Welcome to you all.

Also, a few people have wondered what I’ve been reading on the Kindle lately – especially free or low cost books.  Thanks to a suggestion from our friend Richard, I just downloaded and read a book that lingers (intriguingly) on my mind… World Made by Hand ($9.39) by Kunstler, an interesting exploration of our world in the post-fossil fuel/post machine age.  Not creepy in the Mad Max way, at under $10, worth the price.

anemonesI admit, I do find myself buying many full price books ($11.99 or $12.99) – a hazard of listening to NPR’s book reviews and interviews.  Still, I’ve got a short list of books well under that price that I’ve enjoyed.  Remember, you can view reader reviews and download samples onto your Kindle for free before you decide to make a purchase, so don’t take my word for it:

Big Lake by Nick Russell (Gypsy Journal editor), just 99 cents.  I particularly like this book because I’m so familiar with the setting, but it had a fast moving plot and interesting characters, too. 

For $2.99, I recommend Winter Sea.  Oops, I see it is $7.69 now – I got a bargain!  I’m not a romance or fantasy reader, though this book might be categorized in either genre… but I enjoyed it.

I paid $7.62 for Mudbound, a gripping story with a couple tremendously difficult-to-read chapters – in fact, I just skimmed them, pretty much knowing what was going on.   The story reminds me of a Pat Conroy book – well-written, fascinating chapters, then a sudden horrific incident that leaves you breathless.  One of my favorites, but not for those who like an easy, light read. 

White jellyfishHere’s another cheapie: Bangkok Bob and The Missing Mormon (I paid $3.99).  I discovered this after reading a free short story that was just OK; a preview of Bangkok Bob was included at the end.  I found myself wanting to know what happened to the Missing Mormon, so bought the book.  Good marketing, eh?  Very enjoyable and fast moving.  I might end up trying others by this author.

I like Robert Parker’s Spenser stories, so recently read one of his earlier stories, Early Autumn, $7.99.  Typical Parker – fast moving story, spare prose, enjoyable characters, no wasted words.  Worth the money.

At $9.99, this one barely squeaks in under $10, but I really, really enjoyed it: Tooth & Claw.  It’s totally different than any book I have read before (and in the fantasy genre), but I was very sorry to see it end.  I’ll probably re-read it one day for the sheer enjoyment of the author’s imagination.

Another $9.99 book I thought about for quite awhile after I finished it: Snow Flower & the Secret Fan.  One of those that makes you appreciate modern life, particularly if you are a woman.

That’s my recent Under $10 reading list.  How about you?  Any good reads to add to the list?


  1. Gorgeous pictures of the underwater world. I don't have a kindle or a nook or anything else, so no books to recommend. I just know that one day I'm going to have to break down and give up my actual books.

  2. ooooh, goodie, kindle reads! I am so glad that you found some good clam chowder. Labor Day at Rocky Point? We will be here laying low and kayaking

  3. Laurie and Odel -

    I just put your blog on Flipboard on my iPad, and it is UNBELIEVABLY wonderful. It looks like the best of National Geographic. Am just getting the hang of the iPad, and would totally recommend it to anyone.

    When we were in Newport in 2005, for some reason we passed on the Aquarium. Since then, I have read so many glowing reports, like yours today, that I am full of remorse.

    So much so, that I am now even more determined to get up that way next summer.

    Definitely will stop in at Georgie's Grill to sample the chowder. Was totally put off by that at Mo's, and have been hoping for a better sample ever since.

    Virtual hugs,


  4. Well, you finally found some good clam chowder - whew! I was worried about Oregon's reputation there for awhile:)

    We haven't been to the aquarium in years so it was good to know it is still a great place to visit. I enjoyed the photos.

  5. I'd just read that they've made a movie out of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan", starring Li Bingbing and Hugh Jackman. It is supposed to be really good, although when I love a book, I am sometimes hesitant to see the movie.

    Google will not let me post as myself recently, so I am "Anonymous" now. Story of my life!

    Kerri in AL :-)

  6. I really enjoy your blog and always look forward to a new entry. Try "Happier Than A Billionaire: Quitting My Job, Moving to Costa Rica and Living the Zero Hour Work Week" by Nadine Hays Pisani. $2.99 on Amazon. She also has a blog I find quite entertaining -

  7. I'm not usually an aquarium visitor but your pictures made me want to visit this one.

    Thanks for the book recomendations. I'm leaning toward getting a Kindle if they would just put some sort of new book perfume smell on it. I love smelling the pages or is it the glue?? LOL


  8. Inner space and Outer Space..I have trouble getting my small brain around such a surreal universe ..Your pictures were fabulous!!!

  9. We were also in Newport this summer. It's our favorite town on the Oregon coast. There is so much to see and do there!

    Thank you for mentioning my mystery book Big Lake. It has been very well received, and I have a sequel in the works.

  10. Actually, I loved reading The Help, though it was full price. Since I'm pretty cheap on most of the other stuff I read on Kindle, I felt justified on that one full priced find.

    Another older one: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.


  11. I just read (free) from Amazon on Kindle the funniest RV themed mystery, "Invisible" , an Ivy Malone mystery, by Lorena McCourtney. It was a really good read, and cleverly includes motorhome travel into the storyline. I love your blog, hope to meet you guys some day!

  12. We discovered Georgie's Grill a few years ago. Luke declared the lunch he had as "the best meal EVER" and I absolutely loved their clam chowder. Any time someone talks about Mo's I jump in with my Georgie's recommendation. (Nick, if you go back and look, when you were headed for Newport I gave a recommendation for Georgie's.)

  13. What what gorgeous photos today... and thanks for the info on Kindle books... The books I read not to many people like ~ fantasy! lol
    Thanks again I will definately download Nicks book.
    Have fun

  14. We enjoyed the Newport Aquarium, took our two granddaughters there last year. We have some similar pictures and wrote about it in our blog here:

    Thanks for the book tips, love our Kindle, too!