Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Yes, it's that most wonderful time of the year once again .. it's FALL, Y'all!

Time for pumpkin spice (pies) and everything nice, crispy mornings and cozy fires and beautiful fall colors, warm sweaters and shawls and apple cider with cinnamon pecan pastries!
It's definitely MY time of the year!
Decorations are up of course, even a few new ones this year:


And due to the cooler nights, the neighborhood is taking on a slight yellow and orange tinge as well ..



I see more berries and pumpkins and even a rare mushroom or two!

James got in the mood and made oatmeal pancakes, something he remembers his dad made on cold Sunday mornings, the one's that 'stick to your ribs' a little more than the usual fluffy ones.
I wasn't too sure about them but they were surprisingly good!

And everything is better with bacon, or in our case (maple) sausage, of course!

Temperatures are not really cooperating with my festive mood though, it's still way to hot for my liking. It was a whopping 84F (29C) on Saturday and 86F (30C) on Sunday!
Fortunately we'd booked a matinee theater performance in McMinnville for Sunday so we were enjoying their nice air-conditioning during the hottest of the day.

After seeing several shows this year in this small but surprisingly good theater, we were really looking forward to see 'Mamma Mia' this time around and boy, once again it did not disappoint!
It's hard to screw up this vibrant feel-good musical of course, the music alone is great, but this whole performance was just amazingly good!!

Once again we were in awe of the professionalism and the talent. The decor was absolutely genius and the costumes were gorgeous and spot on.
We had an absolute ball!
Now to get 'Dancing Queen, 'Money, money, money', 'Gimme, gimme' or 'Mamma Mia' out of our heads!

(Apparently the show was such a success they have added two more shows.)

After the show we decided to walk through town a bit and have something to eat and drink. We were surprised to find main street (actually 3d st), otherwise busy with traffic, closed off and transformed into an outdoor-eating event.
Apparently this has happened each weekend all through the summer, organized by the downtown McMinnville association, and is a huge success, so much so that if you want a table you better book ahead!


We managed to get an outside table at La Rambla, a Spanish restaurant, after we promised to be done in an hour, as every table outside as well as inside was booked!
Since we only wanted a drink and a few tapas, that worked just fine for us!

It was a beautiful afternoon, with the temperature that of a gorgeous summer
(if you're lucky) evening. I guess we can call this an Indian Summer?

The perfect end to a great day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

It's almost fall, and although the vineyards aren't showing much 'color' yet, there's lots of grapes!

I presume they'll be harvesting soon!

Besides the grapes I come across lots of other fruit during my walks:


Can you believe they're letting these beautiful apples just fall off and rot on the ground?
I've half a mind to knock on the door and ask if I can have them!
Same goes for these plums,  I could just barely reach and snatch a few over the barb-wire but the rest is just going to waste ..

I've picked most everything from my own garden that was left, and I'm going to make an attempt to sow some cold/fall vegetables like Chard and Broccoli and Arugula to see if I'll have more luck now than in the Spring:


A friendly neighbor, the one with the beautiful corn and pumpkins, asked me if I like corn and if so would I please take some from him since he's all 'corned-out'!


Well, sure, I don't mind if I do, look at those beautiful cobs! Why didn't mine look like that? According to him I should have fertilized them at least twice .. well, duh .. why did nobody tell me?
OK, moving on.
We went to the Fall RV & Van Show in Portland last Sunday:

We went to the one in Salem last Spring but would like to take a closer look at some we had since picked out or discarded.
We've talked about some other possibilities and it would probably be good to have a second look.

This show is a little bigger and we actually came across a few models and brands we hadn't seen before, like this beautiful 'River Ranch' by Palomino!
With it's 42" and 2455 lb it's a monster of a 5th wheel, but so pretty and it had the mid-section extra room that we'll use as an office:


All of the ones above have that extra room and could all be contenders for our future home.
It's hard to take a picture of that room since there's not much room in an RV to back up, but it sort of looks like this:

So, that was fun, and .. because we were 'in the neighborhood' we checked out a few campgrounds .. of course!
There aren't too many around Portland, but one of them, the Jantzen Beach RV Park, is right next to the Expo, and next to the airport (!), and also just before you drive onto the bridge that brings you to Vancouver, Washington.

It's quite large, but nice, with either ample grass or landscaping in between the sites and lots of mature, shady trees!
We really liked it, and for $684 a month it's really affordable as well!
And yes, there's some noise from the airport but it's not a constant and it passes quickly.

We decided to make a day of it and explore a little of the area to the east of Portland.
The NE Marine Drive along the Columbia River takes you all the way to Troutdale, about 16 miles east of the city.
It had been rather hazy all morning but towards noon we were able to see Mt Hood breaking through the clouds.

After about 20 minutes we reached Troutdale, were we checked out yet another campground, the Sandy Riverfront RV Resort.
True to it's name it's situated on the Sandy River and there are quite some river-front sites available:

It really is a very nice campground, very clean and with very large, green sites. There's a small walking trail down at the river's edge and across the street there's a community park with some nice walking paths as well, which is always a big plus for me!

We decide to have lunch in town, which is small but rather cute, and ended up in Ristorante Di Pompello:


We were pleasant surprised to find ourselves in an Italian restaurant that serves true Italian dishes, very different from the usual fare, for very decent prices!

And not only that, but it was all fresh, hot and delicious. What a great find!

On our way back home we made a detour to the town of Estacada to .. you guessed it .. see one more campground that sounded promising.
We drove through town and left civilization behind, following the Clackamas River into the Cascade foothills that surround this area.

We passed the North Fork reservoir, created by one of the three dams on the river and after 6 miles arrived at the Clackamas River RV Park:

I didn't make any pics myself so these are 'stolen' from the Internet and not very good, but it gives you some idea.
The campground is situated on a mountain slope and consists of 3 'terraces', all of which give you a nice view of the surrounding hills.

We liked it a lot, it's roomy and certainly rural and pretty with lots of possible walking trails, and very affordable as well, so it went on 'the list'!

And that wraps up that day, and also most of the area to the east and south of Portland as far as potential camping-contenders.
The next areas to check out will be around Salem, to the south of us, but we might save that for next year. I think I've seen enough for a while!

Like I said, it's almost fall, but the weather is still 'holding', temps are ranging from the low 70's to the low 80's.
And despite the cooler mornings and evenings, most of our happy-hours still take place outside, and sometimes our meals as well.
Here we are enjoying some excellent Sushi I brought home after shopping on Wednesday:

I'm also starting to feel a little more like baking again with the promise of fall in the air .. blueberry donuts anyone?


Now I would be remiss not to mention the biggest, and saddest, news of this week, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at 96, after reigning for 70 years!
As another blogger mentioned 'she was England's Queen but for the rest of the world she was pretty much 'THE Queen'.
I doubt there's anybody alive who does not know (of) her.

The funeral was of course full of 'pomp and circumstance', leave it to the English to make it a ceremony of unbelievable grandeur, and she deserved it .. 
I liked watching old footage of her life, learning a lot about her that I didn't know, and also about the ceremonies of the day of the funeral.
It was all very impressive and at times rather overwhelming ..

'My' King (King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands) was attending, with his wife Queen Maxima, as well as his mother Princes Beatrix, who was a close friend of the Queen and who reigned during much of the same time.
They had a place of 'honor' right opposite the royal family, on the other site of the casket.

This picture of the late Queen's Fell pony, Emma, who stood between flowers on Windsor Castle's Long Walk when the casket passed, with one of the Queen's headscarves over the saddle,
  brought tears to a lot of peoples eyes, including mine ..

What a life, what an amazing lady.