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.

OREGON DEPARTURE and GET-HOME-ITIS

Our last day at the beach was spent at (the secluded) Falcon Cove.  The tide was out, the weather was amazing, and I was OFF-LEASH – because I am a VERY good boy.  Although I was trusted to be OFF-LEASH our entire time at Falcon Cove, I do not stray far from My Dad, I do not bother anyone else, I do not bother other dogs…but I LOVE to chase sea gulls.  Falcon Cove is a secret. No signs, no advertised public access, a challenging walk to the beach on a steep gravel/dirt path (so easy for a Border collie).

We spent several hours walking Astoria, Oregon.  Visited the weekend Farmer's Market, shopped and rested.

We spent several hours walking Astoria, Oregon. Visited the weekend Farmer’s Market, shopped and rested.

Want a beach all to yourself?  Falcon Cove is it!

Want a beach all to yourself? Falcon Cove is it!

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I became very attached to My Dad's sister, Mary.  She found 112 sand dollars at Falcon Cove.  They smelled.....interesting.

I became very attached to My Dad’s sister, Mary. She found 112 sand dollars at Falcon Cove. They smelled…..interesting.

Tuesday morning, September 8th, we began our trek to the east.  We dropped Mary at PDX, picked up I-84 east (a very noisy surface to this road) and spent the first night in Ontario, Oregon at a dog-friendly Clarion Inn.  Wednesday morning, we crossed into Idaho and made a lunch stop in Mountain Home, the location of Mountain Home Air Force Base.

This is an F-111 fighter-bomber, later relegated to a bomber.  My Dad remembers these from his Vietnam days.

This is an F-111 fighter-bomber, later relegated to a bomber. My Dad remembers these from his Vietnam days.

An F-111 during the Vietnam era.

An F-111 during the Vietnam era.

We dropped down into Utah and picked up I-80 and we arrived in Evanston, Wyoming, just after 7:00 p.m.  After checking in to our room at Comfort Inn, My Dad and I drove to the Business District and walked around.

The STRAND Theater now...

The STRAND Theater now…

...the STRAND Theater in 1923...

…the STRAND Theater in 1923…

...and the STRAND Theater in 1970...

…and the STRAND Theater in 1970…

The Union Pacific Railroad continues to have a large presence in Evanston, WY.  Former facilities included a maintenance building, a round-house and a power house.  The maintenance building and part of the round-house have been restored and are National Historic sites.  The Power house is a bit forlorn looking.

Power house in Evanston, built in 1913.  A bit tired looking but quite beautiful in the setting sun.

Power house in Evanston, built in 1913. A bit tired looking but quite beautiful in the setting sun.

The following morning, it was on to our last overnight – Grand Island, Nebraska.  The final push into Chicago was paused in Stuart, Iowa, home to a Bonnie and Clyde bank robbery in 1934.

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The Hotel Stuart now...

The Hotel Stuart now…

The Hotel Stuart in 1938, across from the Rock Island Railroad Depot.

…the Hotel Stuart in 1938, across from the Rock Island Railroad Depot.

We arrived home at 11:22 p.m.  I got a walk and went to bed.

SEAGULL HARASSMENT -and- ICE CREAM AT TILLAMOOK

I still find it hard to believe that My Dad unhooks me at the beach.  JOY!  HAPPINESS!  SPRINTING!  RUNNING!  MAKING FRIENDS!  AND CHASING SEAGULLS!

FREEDOM!   JOY!  OFF-LEASH!

FREEDOM! JOY! OFF-LEASH!

I met a tall lanky four year old female yesterday afternoon.  Her name was Ella….after a few moments of introduction, we took both took off on some high-speed circuits of the beach.  I can run full speed and still tuck my butt in.  I was a bit faster than her.  Two other dogs inserted themselves into our chase-me, chase-you games.  I had to apply FULL brakes to avoid a collision…my skid marks were three feet long!

I'm giving the seagulls a respite.

I’m giving the seagulls a respite.

Ella was GREAT at chase-me, chase-you pursuit games!

Ella was GREAT at chase-me, chase-you pursuit games!

Finishing up the Tillamook Ice Cream...my eyes are closed for a reason...yummmmm...

Finishing up the Tillamook Ice Cream…my eyes are closed for a reason…yummmmm…

Ella asked me if I was a model for Modern Dog magazine

Ella asked me if I was a model for Modern Dog magazine

I am an active participant when we go bye-bye-in the car.

I am an active participant when we go bye-bye-in the car.

CODY AND MAGIC AT ARCADIA BEACH

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Arcadia Beach, several miles south of Cannon Beach, OR, is a testament to the passage of time – the bluffs and cliffs are sedimentary and volcanic rock created over hundreds of millions of years.  What was once seabed is now buckled sedimentary rock that has been uplifted and is on display as cliff faces, some at very unusual angles.  The earthly remains of my beloved Border collie, Cody, arrived at Arcadia Beach, a place of beauty, a place of great memories with my children and family.  Dogs run free, chase sea gulls, play with their humans.  Magic gave the brass can a delicate lick before Cody’s ashes were poured in the Pacific at the base of the outcropping in the background.  Within seconds, the gentle waves had pulled Cody into sea, and mingled him with the sands of time.

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TUMBLED BY A WAVE -and- I KNOW I CAN SWIM

We are at the beach and I went in the water…..

What?

Really?  You want me to keep the stories in order?  Mmmmmph…

OK, what else after playing with GiGi?

Ohhh, the accident on I-84 outside of Pendleton…there was a seven car wreck including a rolled over vehicle with people ejected from their vehicle on I-84.  All traffic in both directions was shut down for an hour.

Traffic came to a standstill on I-84 in Pendleton, OR, for one hour.

Traffic came to a standstill on I-84 in Pendleton, OR, for one hour.

Always good to wear your seatbelt.

Always good to wear your seatbelt.

Mary’s flight into Portland was on time.  They allow dogs in the airport, so I went with My Dad into the terminal.  Everyone always likes to talk with me and pet me…pretty cool, right?

After we checked in to our hotel in Seaside, we drove to Cannon Beach and parked at Tolovana, near Mo’s restaurant.  My Dad walked me down to this HUGE beach and unhooked the leash.  REALLY?  I’M FREE?  REALLY?  REALLY?  Look at those birds, I am getting some of that.  I sprinted into the water up to my chest and a wave caught me, flipped me over, and I realized I could swim.  The beach is very shallow so I only needed to swim for about 15 seconds.  Ha!  Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice shame on me.  No running into the surf again.

South of Tolovana with Haystack Rock in the background...shortly after being tumbled.

South of Tolovana with Haystack Rock in the background…shortly after being tumbled.

Cindyreminded me of Brandy.  She was 18 months old and I had to work very hard to get her to play with me...but she did!

Cindyreminded me of Brandy. She was 18 months old and I had to work very hard to get her to play with me…but she did!

OVERNIGHT IN TWIN FALLS and ON TO OREGON

Twin Falls had been a Union Pacific passenger train stop. We walked to where the passenger depot should have been, but couldn't find it.

Twin Falls had been a Union Pacific passenger train stop. We walked to where the passenger depot should have been, but couldn’t find it.

My Dad spotted this shadow of the name

My Dad spotted this shadow of the name “MAGIC” on a bank building.

My Dad takes photos of unusual things...he said he family visited Sun Valley in the mid 1960's.

My Dad takes photos of unusual things…he said his family vacationed at Sun Valley in the mid 1960’s.

The Orpheum Theater was built in 1921. This is now...

The Orpheum Theater was built in 1921. This is now…

...and this is from the 1920's.

…and this is from the 1920’s.

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Yesterday afternoon, we crossed the Idaho-Oregon border.  At the Clarion Inn in Ontario, Oregon, a female Spaniel-Retriever mix was a guest at the room adjacent to ours…her name is GiGi.  Initially, she showed me some lip and teeth, but I showed her my backwards hopping skills and the play position,  I won her over for some very spirited chase me – chase you and tussling.

This is GiGi. She was reluctant to play with me, but I am very persuasive.

This is GiGi. She was reluctant to play with me, but I am very persuasive.

ONIONS! Parked in an open lot behind the Clarion was four trailers of ONIONS! The smell of onions was everywhere...go figure.

ONIONS! Parked in an open lot behind the Clarion was four trailers of ONIONS! The smell of onions was everywhere…go figure.

ONIONS!

ONIONS!

Next, the push to Portland to meet My Dad’s sister, Mary, at PDX.

DINING AL FRESCO IN DUBOIS WITH CHIPMUNKS -and- JACKSON HOLE STROLL

My Dad liked DuBois, Wyoming immediately.  Surrounded by red rock bluffs, the gateway to the Shoshone National Forest and the Grand Tetons, DuBois has a classic “Old West” business district.  After checking in at the Branding Iron Inn, we were given cabin 48…no air-conditioning, rather “rustic” with a 1950’s style bathroom and shower, a 1989 Magnavox TV (but connected to DISH Network).  But hey, we were not here to sleep in a comfy bed with perfect climate control and watch TV.  My Dad and I then made the three block walk into the DuBois business district looking for a place to eat.  Some of the buildings near Horse Creek easily dated back to the late 1800’s.  The Cowboy Cafe had outdoor seating, and because I am a very good boy, My Dad decided to have dinner here.  He tethered me to the rough wood post and started talking to two sisters who had flown in to participate in a “pack-trip” into the “wilds” of the Shoshone National Forest.  As I was minding my own business, my attention was drawn to a small chipmunk head looking out from some red snapdragons…looking at me.

“Hey Sheepdog, yes you, any other sheepdogs sitting out here?  Think you can climb into the flowerbed and catch me?”

I gave it a shot, but My Dad quickly asked me what I was up to.

Just after My Dad took this photo, a chipmunk started taunting me from the red flowers.

Just after My Dad took this photo, a chipmunk started taunting me from the red flowers.

My Dad and I were up at 5:30 the next morning.  The cowboy chef who ran the barbecue place next to our cabin was already hard at work, starting fires and unloading his provisions.  He came over and talked to me while I was waiting (off-leash) for My Dad to load the Scion xB.  We headed west on US 26 toward the Tetons and Jackson Hole.

The Jackson Hole town square with the Millionaire Cowboy Bar in the background.

The Jackson Hole town square with the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in the background.

"Hey, some of my distant relatives...let me sit proudly between them."

“Hey, some of my distant relatives…let me sit proudly between them.”

The next morning, it was on to Twin Falls, Idaho.

WE’RE STARTING OUR TRIP AT THE VET? -and- IOWA AND NEBRASKA

“Wait, wait…why are we at the vet?”

“No big deal…relax.  We just have to re-fill your HeartGuard meds.”

“WE means YOU.  I’ll just stay in the car.”

“Aw, c’mon…everyone here likes to see you, they all know your name, I like showing you off…”

“Mmm…no needles, shots, exams, right?”

“Just the re-fill, and we’re on the road…”

“……………mmmmph, ok……………”

“Hi, Mr. Magic, Magic needs a heartworm test today, it’ll just take a minute…”

“You tricked me, I’ll remember this.”

Hi to my loyal and faithful fans.  I was a bit pouty when we hit the road…they drew blood from my right forepaw and I kept holding it up just to make My Dad feel guilty.  The roads in Illinois, on I-88 and I-80 were either bumpy or under construction.  Our first stop was Wilton, IA where they have the longest continually operating confectioner shop in the United States, pretty exciting, right?  I think I saw three people during the 35 minutes we walked the town.  Who was eating the candy at this store?  What?  Oh, the Rock Island Railroad used to stop here.  My Dad thinks he went through this town in the early 1960’s on the ROCKY MOUNTAIN ROCKET, a train to Denver, Colorado.

Yawn, the longest continuously operating candy store in the United States...Wilton, IA.

Yawn, the longest continuously operating candy store in the United States…Wilton, IA.

A remnant of the Rock Island Railroad empire.  Notice what a good boy I am?

A remnant of the Rock Island Railroad empire. Notice what a good boy I am?

Cozad, Nebraska is home to the 100th meridian, you geography buffs.

Cozad, Nebraska is home to the 100th meridian, you geography buffs.

The  Union Pacific Railroad is still going strong...they have three tracks going through Cozad.  Their cabooses, though, are a relic of the past.

The Union Pacific Railroad is still going strong…they have three tracks going through Cozad. Their cabooses, though, are a relic of the past.

Chimney Rock National Monument, outside of Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  Starting to look like the West!

Chimney Rock National Monument, outside of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Starting to look like the West!

Site of the Ficklin Springs Pony Express Station.

Site of the Ficklin Springs Pony Express Station.

Monday morning, 31 August, we departed Scottsbluff and drove west on U.S. Highway 26.  On to the Grand Tetons!

CANNON BEACH, HERE WE COME! and FEEDING THE DEMONIC SCHIZOID

Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon...doesn't look that far on the map...

Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon…doesn’t look that far on the map…”Where’s Nebraska?”

“Where’s Nebraska?”

“You’re looking at the map…you have it open to Nebraska…”

“Why are we stopping in Scottsbluff…why don’t we just drive right to the beach…we ARE going to a beach, aren’t we?”

“We have three nights in Scottsbluff because I am teaching at soccer referee clinics for an AYSO region. Don’t worry, you’ll have your own bed…”

“When do we get to the beach…you said the Pacific Ocean, mountains, rain forests, sea gulls to chase, cool temperatures, bye-bye in the car, when do we get there?”

“We are meeting Mary at PDX on Friday morning, we’ll be at the beach Friday afternoon.”

“This is an OFF-LEASH beach…right?  You keep telling me I will be OFF-LEASH…”

“Yes, yes, yes…an adventure of a lifetime for a young Border collie.  And from Scottsbluff to Portland, we are taking US Route 26, through the Rocky Mountains, small towns, National Forests.  You will see Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.  Believe me, you will LOVE this trip!”

“I’m going to miss my dog friends…Brandy, Ellie, Sophie, Olive…”

“Sorta funny that all your friends are female…just sayin’ and you let them eat your food while you just watch…you certainly are the Romeo…don’t forget to tell your followers they can follow our trip on your blog…”

“Hey, all my faithful and loyal followers…follow my trip to Oregon on my blog!”

Brandy was over the other day, she asked if she could eat my food.

Brandy was over the other day, she asked if she could eat my food…she didn’t wait for an answer…

...and then she eats the rest of my food...it better to just watch it happen...I always want to stay on her good side, right Demonic Schizoid?

…and then she eats the rest of my food…it is better to just watch it happen…I always want to stay on her good side, right Demonic Schizoid?