Westward travels with a Border collie, Part II

A low leaden sky, clouds scudding off the ocean towards the northeast, the greenish mountains to the east providing a background to a light, persistent rain.  This Monday morning was our last full day in Oregon, and it was “wine country” day, as in Willamette Valley vineyards.  Would weather conditions be improved east of the Coastal Range mountains?

Magic is a cool, composed, and self-confident canine.  He always carries himself with an equilibrium, an inner harmony, an acceptance of whatever comes his way.  A simple whisper of “let’s go,” is an immediate response, no leash required.  Down several flights of stairs to the parking lot, to the the Scion xB, up into the back.  A quick kiss from Magic for me and my sister, Mary, and we’re off.  Eastbound on US 26, the Sunset Highway, through the clouds, drizzle, and rain of the Coastal Range.  As US 26 straightened and flattened east of the Coastal Range, the clouds were breaking up, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  Southbound on Oregon-47, through the towns of Banks, Forest Grove, Yamhill.  Why so many Sheriff’s Patrol cars lurking on side streets?

Stoller Estate was was our primary destination.  A large parking lot, a beautiful modern structure with polished concrete, glass, metal, and wood.  Their website mentioned that pets were not allowed, but stainless steel water bowls were observed on expansive outdoor seating area.  Yes, dogs are allowed – outside.  Comfortable outdoor seating included small tables with four chairs, community seating with large tables, and areas of white Adirondack chairs paired with small tables.  The seating area overlooked vineyards and an open grassy area.  Sounds of birds in “distress” were soon realized to be recordings of hawks and their “captured” prey – keeps the riff-raff out of the vineyards, I guess.

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Stoller Family Estates is dog-friendly.  Very large concrete patio, a lot of comfortable outdoor seating, great wines, and a very pleasant staff.

While we had another winery in mind, after departing Stoller, we ended up on Breyman Orchards Road which turned 90 degrees in front of Durant Vineyards at Red Ridge.  My sister, Mary, said, “Let’s go here!”

The atmosphere of Durant Vineyards was very different from Stoller – smaller, a bit more green, a bit more rustic, a bit more gratifying to the soul.  Durant was more about connecting with the views of the Willamette Valley and the mountains to the north.  From the comfort of Adirondack chairs on a lush lawn, there was quiet contentment, a tranquility that was enhanced by delicious wine and sampler plates.

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One of the owners at Durant came out to our table to interact with Magic.  Just when you thought life couldn’t get any better.

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The “Bubble Guys” at Seaside

The Pacific coast of Oregon has been my go-to vacation destination since the early 1990’s.  Experiences with my children, siblings, and, of course, Magic, have been what memories are made of.  The pleasures are simple:  beautiful beaches, not many people, gorgeous scenery, cool temperatures, pine forests, mountains. Our base of operations for this trip was, again,  Rivertide Suites in Seaside –  a two bedroom, two bath suite with a kitchen and living room overlooking the mountains to the west.  And they’re dog-friendly, especially for a registered Border collie Therapy dog.

The weekend after Labor day hosts a custom classic car show which means that rumbling exhausts, and automobile memories from the 1940’s to the 1970’s are lining the streets.  Compared to the more upscale Cannon Beach, Seaside has more of a middle-class, blue-collar feel, with arcades, gift shops, taffy and candy stores, and the occasional street-people.  And it was a pair of these street-people who provided a mesmerizing display of indigent creativity – think, BIG BUBBLES!

The promenade of Seaside consists of wide concrete walkway, a concrete wall, and a deep stretch of sand with the Pacific ocean to the west.  People of all ages, families, dog walkers, a few bikes, a few skateboards, a lot of tattoos, enjoy the promenade.  At the Broadway Street turn-around, a crowd had gathered.  Children were jumping at these HUGE bubbles that were emerging from the beach.  Two enterprising men had triangular strands of yarn suspended between two poles.  The yarn would be dipped into a small plastic pool and then held aloft for the ocean breeze to extract the soapy film from the strands of yarn to be transformed into the most attention-grabbing, prismatic, wanderers, some the size of  a kitchen stove.

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The Bubble-Guys on the Promenade at Broadway, Seaside, OR.  Fascinating, simple, and free.

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The Bubble-Guys do have a “donation” bucket.  If you are enjoying this unique experience, it’s a good spend!  And you will get a “thank-you!”

And the fee for this entertainment?  There was a small plastic bucket for donations, if one so desired.  I tossed in a $5 with an immediate “thank you” from one of the bubble creators.