Monday, July 4, 2011

Oregon Days

DAY FORTY (July 3, 2011): We drove from Medford, OR up to Cutler City, OR on Sunday. That was the day after our LONG day, so we got up pretty late, had breakfast at a truck stop, and drove up I-5 to Corvallis, OR (where my son-in-law’s brother, Neil Shay, lives and works as Director of the Oregon Wine Research Institute, but I didn’t know how to reach him and we didn’t really have time to stop anyway), and went over to the coast to Route 101 and then up a fairly short distance to Cutler City, which is really just a part of Lincoln City.

Our friends, Roger and Bonnie Hull, have a modest little cottage there – what was originally a little fishing shack I guess, which has been upgraded and expanded over the years into a nice little cottage. Bonnie is an artist; Roger is an art historian. They are fun to be with. Their son, Zach, his fiancée, Ashton, and their friends, Ian and Amy, were also there. The cottage sleeps eleven in a pinch, so there were plenty of beds, but only one bathroom. Ellen and I had the best room in the cottage – the new “studio” room at the back. We had fresh, grilled salmon our first evening (July 3rd), and it was very interesting talking with the “young folks,” whose world is very different from ours. Zach is an entrepreneur who is on to what could be a very good idea (or a huge flop) involving using the internet to fill empty seats at concerts by means of a kind of lottery. If it catches on, it will be HUGE. Ashton is just starting an exciting job managing a theater-tech department at Lewis and Clark University. Ian is one of six owners of a vegan bar/restaurant in Portland, OR ("The Bye and Bye") which has been so successful that they are opening a second one (which can be risky too). All the owners actually work at the bar (Ian is a bar-tender), and have committed to putting in time at both places to assure quality control. So these are folks taking risks in a dicey economy. We wished them well.

DAY FORTY-ONE: The day of the Fourth of July, I got up early and went for a nice walk on the beach, and then we sat around and talked at breakfast; the “guys” took off on their motorcycles to return to Portland, the “gals” followed soon after in their VW Beetle, and then it was just Bonnie, Roger, Ellen and me. We had a couple of quiet hours until we went to the Greens – Jim and Carol Green who also live in Salem and have a somewhat more substantial “cottage” just a few steps down the street. There we had cocktails (with “Mexican Mess,”), supper (traditional 4th of July grilled sausages and burgers with potato salad and cole slaw), and dessert (a huge “Star Cake,” – chocolate layer cake in the shape of a five-pointed star). The Green family included their son, Jimmy, his wife, Sandy, their two teen-aged children, Bella and Jake, and two other grandchildren, Lily and Jack (whose parents had to be elsewhere). Jimmy works for a company which supplies information to car-dealerships, telling them who are prime potential customers. His company claims, at least, to be able to tell a dealership who in their area is most likely to buy a new car this month! – thus making it possible for the dealership to target that audience with a special ad campaign. So maybe that’s what lies behind those circulars we get that have a plastic key attached to them that you can use to drive away a car (ha! ha!), or tell you that you’ll get a prize if you just come in. This is definitely not the world we normally live in, but I guess our world is sort of rarefied. After all that, there were fireworks on the beach. By then (close to 10pm), it was getting pretty cold! There were a lot of fires on the beach with folks clustered around them. As Bonnie said, it looked like a civil war encampment. The fireworks were pretty good.

DAY FORTY-TWO: Tuesday, July 5th, I again got up early for a walk, and then Ellen and I packed up and drove into Salem, stopping first for breakfast at the Otis Café, in the town of Otis, famous for great breakfasts punctuated by black molasses bread:

Ellen had a one-half order of sausage gravy over hashbrowns, and soon learned that a one-quarter order would have been plenty! It was hard to imagine a full order.

Then we drove into Salem and met Joanne Elizabeth, a friend who had planned a very nice day – lunch at Minto Island Growers, an organic farm stand and food cart – a wonderful light, fresh, salad-y lunch to offset breakfast.


Then a ride through the countryside to the Buena Vista Ferry over the Willamette River – about a 3-minute ride.

Then another little ride to the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge, then into Salem to drop off my roll of film, and to the Hallie Ford Museum where Bonnie Hull was co-curator of an exhibit of the schematic drawings of two well-known women landscape architects and garden designers of the early 20th century in Salem, OR – Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver. That was a very interesting and visually appealing exhibition – and that was just when my camera started acting up! I have one usable photo, but not the best example of their work.

I did get an example of another artist’s exhibit, Ross Palmer Beecher, which is utterly unique – all made of pieces of tin and other metal like bottle caps, keys, utensils, etc.


We love the Hallie Ford Museum which features the work of artists of the Pacific Northwest and is the brainchild of our friend, Roger Hull, who was an art historian at Willamette University for forty years and just retired last year. After the museum we made a short visit to Deepwood, a mansion and garden in Salem where L&S's influence can be seen. In the evening, J.E. hosted us and the Hulls for a delicious supper al fresco in her backyard. An altogether lovely day.

DAY FORTY-THREE: Now it is Wednesday and we've driven to Boise, ID. On the way, we stopped first at Rosie's in Mill City for coffee and scones; then we stopped for a bit in Sisters, where a Quilt Festival is going on. The town was humming with hundreds of quilters who come from all over the Northwest for this annual event. Then we drove over the Presidential range and down into the eastern Oregon desert through John Day, and on down to Boise. Tomorrow I'll look for a new camera!

If you want to pursue some of the things mentioned in this blog, here are some links:

Dr. Neil Shay:
Bonnie Hull:
Roger Hull:
Zachary Hull: (scroll down to his name)
The Bye and Bye Bar:
Lord and Schryver:
Hallie Ford Museum:
Rosie's Scones:
Sisters, OR Quilt Fest:

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