Archive for the ‘Places’ Category

Stub Stewart State Park

Back in Oregon and spending some time relaxing at Stub Stewart.
Stub Stewart State Park is Oregonians’ newest backyard playground. Opened in 2007, the 1,650 acre park is the first full-fledged state park to be built since 1972.
15 miles of trails wind through the park, the park is known for its miles of dedicated horse trails. Home to one of the best horse camps in the northwest.

We are moving from Stub Stewart to the Tualatin River this week. Keep tuned for details.


Mt. Rushmore

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the completion of the Mount Rushmore carving.  With more than 3 million visitors in 2010, it is recognized internationally as a symbol of freedom, patriotism and democracy.

There are lots of camping spots around Mt. Rushmore and I chose a KOA between the Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.  I checked in, put up the tent and headed for the evening lighting ceremony.

I admit to many tears during the ceremony as it celebrated not only our freedoms but those that fought for those freedoms.  My dad stormed the beach at Iwo Jima in WWII and my brother was in Vietnam during the Tet offensive, both proud United States Marines.

“My plan is to make Rushmore a center in the heart of America so attractive, so comprehending, that the inevitable visiting world will assemble there with something more than curiosity, and go away with something more than wonder.”  Sculptor Gutzon Borglum


On the Road Again

I love to drive.  The rhythm of the tires on the road, changing vistas and the sound of the wind with the windows down.

Driving across America on I-90 takes you through Ohio toward Chicago.  I stopped about an hour east of Chicago in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and tented at the State Park, a bargain at $17.50 per night.  The park was beautiful and clean and just a stones throw from the sand dunes created by Lake Michigan.

Indiana Dunes has several beautiful hikes that overlook Lake Michigan and the sand dunes.  Trail 10 is rated one of the best hikes in America.  Unfortunately, I twisted my ankle on an apple, go figure, before I left and had to settle for the 2 mile trail.  The trails are sand so wear appropriate footwear if you decide to try the hikes.

There is a beautiful beach along Lake Michigan.  Edgar was not welcome on the beach.





Rhythm of the River

Arriving in early July the river is full of life, the trees are in full bloom, the summer flowers sweet in the air.  Lightening bugs by the hundreds and a cacophony of sound from the cicadas, tree frogs, crickets and crows.

September 1st and the hummingbirds have all gone south, the birds are gathering in larger and larger flocks for their long flights.  The grinnies and squirrels are working overtime storing the bounty of summer.  Our property has chestnut, black walnut, apple, pear and peach trees which are all enjoyed by the large variety of animals that make their daily trip to feed.

I will admit to spending hours just sitting on the picnic table and watching the river.  Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Swift, Geese and Blue Heron fishing the river and cleaning up the debris have given me much pleasure.

The turtles come out and sun themselves on the rocks, scooting quickly into the river at any sign of danger.  The river is clean enough to watch the fish feed and I have seen carp being chased by walleye and pike.

The sun is setting sooner and the nights have a nip of chill dressing the leaves in their brilliant fall wardrobe.  Soon, the summer camps will be closed and snow will blanket the ground……



I came across this big boy taking a walk. Edgar steered clear. So did I!

There are lots of birds on the river ….. here are a few.


Kinzua Dam

The Allegheny River starts in New York and meanders its way through Pennsylvania ending in downtown Pittsburgh at the golden triangle where it meets the Monongahela and forms the mighty Ohio.

The Kinzua Dam creates a lake that stretches 100 miles through both states.


Baseball, Fireworks and Train!!

“Come down to Pittsburgh, I got tickets for a Pirate game this Saturday”  my friend, Debbie said.  The Pittsburgh Pirates organization sure knows how to put on a show.

We lost to the Padres, as a side note the last time I saw a Pirate game was against the Padres in San Diego!

A concert after the game was included in the price of a ticket $9.00.  The group was TRAIN!!!  omg, one of my favorite groups of all time.

Fireworks framed the group as they sang, even off the Highmark Building in the background.

We went to Rivers Casino after the show and enjoyed a few margaritas, great night in the Burg!

The Natural Beauty of Age

My Mom’s property in Pennsylvania sits on the Allegheny River on top of the original homestead foundation.  In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s this land was occupied by a family who planted apple trees.  They made apple butter and floated to Pittsburgh on a raft, selling their wares and walking back the 100 or so miles to home.

There are still some of the original apple trees on the property including July, Golden Delicious and Mackintosh.

This tree has been living since before television and she was producing apples and feeding families for decades before, well, Apple.

Her trunk is decayed by years of small animals and insects making homes and raising families of their own. Yet, she still is producing apples, oxygen, shade and compost.

I hope to age as gracefully.


Pennsylvania – Home Sweet Home

On the road again.  David and I drove the RV from Redondo Beach Marina to Portland, OR in 2 days.  I dropped both off in Hillsboro, OR and off to see my Mom in PA.

The drive across the country took me 3.5 days in my Corolla and the new engine worked beautifully.  I am actually getting better gas mileage!  Thanks Sabino.

I chose to leave the RV in Oregon because gas would cost me around $2,000 in the RV and $200 in the car.   I have plenty of places to sleep in PA and my favorite is our place on the Allegheny River about 100 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Bass, Walleye, Carp, Hummingbirds, Bear, Deer, Fox, Porcupine, Grouse, Bald Eagles, Hawks AND Edgar all enjoying the river.  Edgar loves to swim and comes to the river with me.  He has appointed himself official guardian and made it his duty to bark at everyone who approaches the cabin.

I grew up on this river learning to swim and fish.  Now my Oregonian friends understand the deep love of nature and why Oregon is my second home.  The mountains here are a bit shorter, but just as beautiful.



The Great Houdini

Edgar “Houdini” Winter is an escape artist.  He was closed up in the RV in Redondo Beach Marina and the next thing I know my phone is ringing and this nice young couple had captured Edgar in the parking lot.

This was the second time he escaped from the RV.  He followed me 5 blocks in Houston and squeezed under the fence of the restaurant, “look at that cute dog” I just knew it was Edgar.  Edgar can open screens – he jumped out the window – fearless considering the drop is over 6 feet.