out and about

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

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I took a short road trip to Portland Saturday with Powell Books and the Saturday Market as my destinations.  I have never been to either and thought perhaps it would be a great experience.

Powell Books  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Powell Books Photo | Sandy Harris

I must say the book store overwhelmed me.  I love to read.  My life is surrounded by words but in all honesty, you have to have a plan when you go to this store.  It has 4 floors and is color coded for the different sectors of the store.  If you need it, they have it.  It is just a matter of decoding the color codes and figuring out which section and direction your desired location is in. I was up and down the different flights of stairs many times.  I am not sure I even laid eyes on the entire store.  It felt as if I was in a Harry Potter scene, you know the changing stairwell?

Powells Books is the worlds largest book store.  Now that is exciting.  It takes up an entire city block;  1.63 acres and something like 63,000 square feet of space quite literally covered with words.  If I had my way, I would recommend more seating.  There were benches tucked here and there and a foot stool so you could reach high, but just not enough sitting room. People pulled up a bare piece of floor, opened their books and lost themselves within the pages.

Portland, Oregon  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris

My other destination was the Saturday Market on the waterfront.  So once we made it out of the bookstore, we took a walk towards the waterfront.  Of course I took my camera with me (she goes everywhere I do) just in case I see something that strikes my eye.  After I had some lunch I was finally able to get my camera out and I began to shoot.

It is always like Christmas when I get home and download my photos, I just never know what I am going to get, wait… perhaps it’s chocolate I am thinking about?  Anyhow, as I was going through my photographs it hit me what the trip to Portland was really about, and that my friends is about life and beauty.

Portland, Oregon  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris

When I was young, I remember saying to my mother “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  I remember she giggled at that to my sister.  Perhaps they thought I was trying to sound grown up or something I don’t know but it is the absolute truth.

Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris
Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris

As I sit here looking at my photographs I realized my day was about people and the beauty I see and trust me, I can find it in anything.  It seems as if a lot of my stories lately have been photo essays, but sometimes a photo is all that is needed to convey words and speak volumes.

Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris
Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris

I used to be pretty shy and the thought of talking to a stranger terrified me.  I have changed my ways and have come out of my shell.  I have learned that people really aren’t so scary.  We all have our up’s and downs, our to do lists, our loves lost and our new found loves and our favorite things (okay, okay, I think I may be getting a little Mary Poppins right now).

So what I found in my photographs is the beauty I found in others.  The way I see beauty.  In an elder; I see a young girl once spry and a teenager falling in love for the first time in her life.  In the street vendor sitting on the sidewalk resting against the rail making amazing pictures with dots I see a man doing what he loves.

Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris
Shawn Alchemi Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris

In the man with piercing blue eyes who is walking around with a bear rug on his head I see a comedian not afraid to be vulnerable to others.  

Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris
Portland, Oregon Photo | Sandy Harris

In the baby who is standing in the water fountain I see an entire life ahead of him, his mother standing nearby to ensure his safety or the man who is covered in tattoos, that is his beauty.

I hope you enjoy.

Out and About: Wanna Race?

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Sometimes the best laid plans are meant to be broken, such is life.  I did all of my household chores yesterday in anticipation for today, Sunday.  A day of rest (on the veranda).  I had purchased a pool about a month ago, just a small one that could get the job done in the comfort of my own back yard.  Sure the river is fun to go to but it is so much easier to walk outside to the back yard and well, float around if needed.  So, after a little neglect I scrubbed her down with all intentions of hanging poolside today, without a care in the world.  And then it hit me.  I wanted to go on a bike ride but I wanted difference scenery and remembered the new bike path at Dorris Ranch in Springfield.  I wrote a little about it in my mothers day column here.

Have Bike Will Travel
Have Bike Will Travel

I don’t mind doing things by myself but I believe things are much more fun with someone by your side so just before I pulled out of my driveway and headed south towards Springfield; I sent out an invitation on Facebook to see if anyone wanted to join me.  I got a few responses from Alaska, California and Washington but lets be honest, nothing could transport any of those offers quickly to my side.  I did get a note from my favorite comic man Salpino and after a few messages we figured we could connect at Island Park in Springfield as the Middle Fork Bike Path connects to it.

The race was on.  He was coming from Eugene River Road area, me; I had a 4 mile journey… this would be fun… I got my bike out of my Sportage, put my helmet on, tucked the bangs in and did the worst thing I could possibly do… I looked in my window to see how it looked!  NEVER look in the mirror with a bike helmet on.  The guy at the helmet shop even told me that it would be in my best interest to not look in the mirror (now that’s funny).  I should point out, he says that to everyone.  I took the helmet off, fluffed up my hair and tried it again.  It was too pouffy under the helmet.  I was having a really good hair day and this helmet was going to do some serious damage and negate all the effort I put into it before I left my house.

The Helmet...
The Helmet…

I figured hey, I would rather look really dorky alive than really stupid dead.  I found a hair tie in my car, tucked my bangs in under my helmet, locked my car, put my backpack on and slung my camera over my shoulder and off I went.  In my mind, I was trying to figure out how the new path reached Island Park in Springfield.  I am not typically directionally challenged, but I couldn’t’ figure out how this would work, it seemed that Island Park was in the opposite direction.  I thought it best to ask someone so I stopped the first person I saw.  With a smile she told me the path lead to Clearwater Park and it was close to 4 miles, she wished me well and off she went.  Panic set in and I realized Salpino was on his way to meet me at the wrong park!  I fumbled for my phone and that was just a mess.  I can’t see important things without my glasses anymore, so that was an ordeal to get to them and in doing so, I got tangled up in all the straps from my camera bag, ear buds and backpack.

I sent a quick message telling Salpino about my error and hoped he would get it.  I put everything back on and began to peddle like there was no tomorrow.  By Salpino’s estimations, he would be at Island park in 20 minutes.  After messing with my hair and the helmet that meant I had about 12 minutes left to ride 8 miles on my bike, get back to my car and get to Island Park.  I came all this way (about 40 minutes) to ride my bike on this awesome trail and by George, I was going to do it.

Middle Fork Bike Path
Middle Fork Bike Path

It really was a nice bike ride (although I am now going to be checking into that moisture wicking clothing).  The path meanders alongside the Willamette River.  I passed a few families; both walking and riding their bikes.  I must say, no one looked dumb in their bike helmets, I actually thought they looked rather cool to be honest, I just hope I looked as cool in mine.  Yes, I checked em out and what I did notice were the people who were not wearing a helmet.  I truly did debate on wearing mine or not.  I mean really, what could happen on a bike path.  Well, anything could happen and it’s best to be safe than sorry.  I figured I was going to have a bad case of helmet head and dreaded taking it off, but really, in the grand scheme of things who cares?  I did have to go around a couple of large Garter snakes as they were crossing the path (nope, they don’t bother me one bit) I even had a race with a gray squirrel.

There were some really cool spots to pull over and rest or take photographs but I was on a mission; I had a friend waiting on me and I couldn’t let him down so on I peddled.  Rounding a bend I spotted a gal off in a field alone working on her Tai Chi.  I thought it was pretty cool and knew I could get a great photograph of her and for a split second wobbled on my bike trying to decide if I should stop and take a photograph of her.  In the end I decided that was her time and I didn’t want to invade on any level so I kicked it into high gear and forged on.  There are mile markers every quarter mile.  Finally reaching Island park I sent Salpino a text to let him know I would drive to Island Park as soon as I returned to my car.  I got the big camera out, snapped a couple pics, sipped some water, turned around and headed back to wence I came.

Middle Fork Bike Path
Middle Fork Bike Path  |  Photo  Sandy Harris

Mile marker 3.75 miles… 2 miles, 1.50 miles to go…. Yay I said to myself… I am almost there, I can do this!  Then I saw the hill.  It seemed as if I was in a long hallway in a scary movie and it just kept getting longer and longer.  Even though I ride my bike often, I am far from being anywhere near an endurance rider and up hill is certainly not my first option.  I will whine all the way up, as will my leg muscles and lungs. What could I do but carry on.

I huffed and puffed and set my gears on the easiest one I could find.  I heard a man’s voice yell behind me HILL!  Then a mothers voice rang out, encouraging her son of about 7 years old that “he could do it” she said… “Keep peddling…” I kept my eye on the prize, sweat pouring off my brow when I looked to my left and here, the family was passing me.  The mom and dad knowing their little kid was following them like a champ giving it all he had.  The adults were about 75 feet ahead of me like seasoned pro’s when I heard some heavy breathing.  It was the little kid!  He was right beside me.  I must have been staggering up the hill because he was on my right.  Poor thing, his face was beat red and he looked like he wanted to cry.  I could feel his pain, I had my own going on.  I tried to lighten the mood and asked him “Do you want to race me?”  He cracked a smile, kicked it into gear and sped passed me up the hill.

Middle Fork Bike Path
Middle Fork Bike Path at Clearwater Park  |  Photo  Sandy Harris

Once I crested the hill I wanted to shout out to the world “I made it”.  I could see the parking lot!  Once I reached my car, I tossed my bike into the back and headed to Island Park, found Salpino and he suggested we go to Coburg Pizza on Centennial for lunch.

“It’s right around the corner” he says.

I put my helmet back on, Salpino offered to carry my camera for me and off we went.  I just googled it and guess what Salpino;  it’s actually 2.26 miles from where we were standing!  Relief washed over me as soon as we entered Coburg Pizza.  The air conditioning was amazing and the aroma was even better.

Salpino locking up the bikes
Salpino locking up the bikes

We found a table and I headed to the ladies room to freshen up and try to compose myself and catch my breath.  It had been a day already!  Salpino had ice waters at the ready when I returned to our table.  We decided on what to order and if you have ever been to Coburg Pizza, you will know that is not an easy decision to make.  Their menu is amazing. I love their pizza but this girl needed something cold (like a glacier to lay on).  I decided on the Oriental Chicken Salad.  Salpino chose that as well in addition to the spaghetti and boneless chicken wings.   While we waited for our food, Salpino took off for a second and came back with Etch A Sketches!  I haven’t’ played with one of those forever.  I was sitting with one of the best cartoonists ever and I couldn’t wait to see his creation.  Our salads showed up right away and took precedents over drawing so we would sketch another time perhaps.  The food was delicious.  The salad was huge and exactly what I needed (it was loaded with spinach).

We had a very enjoyable visit.  I learned a little bit more about Cyd Salpino, who is not just an awesome cartoonist and friend but he also broadcasts on 96.1 KZEL in Eugene.  At times we forgot where we were and may have gotten a little loud with our laughter.  It was time we headed out and the heat was nice but to be honest, I didn’t look forward to the ride back to Island Park.  I was tired but the ride back was better after a nice relaxing lunch.  It seemed we were back at the park in no time.  We said our goodbyes and headed in our own directions to continue the rest of our day.

Old Fashioned Entertainment at Coburg Pizza
Old Fashioned Entertainment at Coburg Pizza

Sometimes, those best laid plans are meant to be broken, to cast all caution to the wind and just do what feels right.  I got a 13 mile bike ride in and got to enjoy some good laughter with a good friend over some great food.  How can you beat that?

Helmets do save lives.  A friend insisted on taking me to a bike shop and had me fitted for this one (it is really important that your helmet fits well) and then insisted on purchasing it for me.  What better way to say I care about you right?

I am heading out to my pool now.  I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

See you out there!

 

A High Speed Race In A Narrow Little Space

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It was a race for the fastest time to the finish line this past Saturday at Lebanon Oregon’s newest racing facility.  Moving from it’s original track in Shedd, Oregon, the USSBA  (United States Sprint Boat Association) celebrated its newest facility Global Jetsprint Track located in Lebanon, Oregon.  Opening the gates at 8 am Saturday for their annual event.

Global Jetsprint Races Photo | Sandy Harris
Global Jetsprint Races #711 Screaming EaglePhoto | Sandy Harris

This is my third year covering this event and I must say I was extremely excited.  For a couple of reasons, okay, a few.  There is never a dull moment at the races!  Live, non-stop fast paced action any way you look at it.  These boat can get up to 90 mph within seconds and on such a small track, that is pretty amazing.

I knew I was going to see a lot of the boats I have watched over the last few years race as well as some new ones and I couldn’t wait to see the new track.  The Global Jetsprint Track replaces the Field Of Dreams where it has been held these last few years.  Now located on Airport Road in Lebanon, it is just a jaunt from the Lebanon Speedway.

The property is set up well, with ample parking for the anticipation of the many race fans that will be attending.

Global Jetsprint Races Photo | Sandy Harris
Global Jetsprint Races #156 Bad Influence Ron Domoe Racing Photo | Sandy Harris

The track is new and of course, with all new things there are kinks.  The first four boats out onto the water all returned to shore with DNQ’s (did not qualify).  The 5th boat broke that cycle but it came to light that the track needed a little bit more adjusting so out came the excavator and the ditch was dug a little deeper and the day continued.

The grass is still growing and there is plenty of dirt, rocks and mud around but in time, it will age perfectly as did the Field of Dreams.

Here are the winners for the day in the three separate classes.

Super MOD 350

#156 Bad Influence Ron Domoe – Driver (Minden, NV)  Steven Church – Navigator (Junction City, OR)

#71B Nut Deep Jay Carriea  – Driver (Salem, OR) Chelsea Gottfried – Navigator (Salem, OR)

71A Nut Deep Larry Hines – Driver (Salem, OR) Jay Carriea – Navigator (Salem, OR)

International A-400

#13 Dream Catcher Doug Olson – Driver (Moscow, ID)  Andy Gilder – Navigator (Moscow, ID)

#151 Kyle Patrick – Driver (Albany, OR) Alex Patrick – Navigator (Albany, OR)

#13 Fat Buddy Scott Saxton – Driver (Vancouver, Canada) Frank Farrand – Navigator (Vancouver, Canada)

Super Boat – Unlimited

#4 Sinister Bill Sparling – Driver (Corvallis, MT) Nicole Brown – Navigator (Washington)

#711 Screaming Eagle Lee Rice – Driver (Caldwell, ID) Marvin Wright – Navigator (Boise, ID)

#69 Overkill Dennis Hughes – Driver (Spokane, WA) Matia Haskey – Navigator (Wishkah, WA)

Global Jetsprint Races Photo | Sandy Harris
Global Jetsprint Races Safety team headed to their islands  Photo | Sandy Harris

If you have not been able to make it out to the races, I would highly encourage you to do so.  The tickets are fairly inexpensive at $20.00 per adult.  It is good clean fun and very exciting.  It gets pretty hot out there and many people bring their fold up sunshades and umbrella’s, blankets and chairs.  Don’t forget your sunblock!  

You can bring your own food in too which is pretty cool but if you just don’t feel like cooking, let me tell you they got it going on there.  I was at the track nice and early at 8 am and smelling those beans and bbq cooking that early in the morning was amazing.  Is it ever too early for Kettle corn?  I don’t think so.  I was running late so I had some fries for breakfast!  They even have a beer garden serving adult beverages.

There are two races held in this part of the world, the next race, which is held August 30th, 2014 promises to be a fun filled weekend as the world finals will be held at this track!  How exciting is that?  You can read more about it here.

Global Jetsprint Races Photo | Sandy Harris
Global Jetsprint Races # 156 Ron Domoe Racing  Photo | Sandy Harris

Some very fortunate and dedicated racers from New Zealand and Australia (where the sport actually began) put their boats in shipping containers last month in order to get them here in time for the finals.  They are spending upwards of $30,000 to get their boats here if that tells you anything.  This will be a really big event!

Due to a prior commitment, I was unable to spend the entire day taking photographs as I usually do but I was able to get a good idea of what to expect for next months race.  I am excited to see how the track has progressed as the grass grows in on the newly developed site.

Global Jetsprint Races Photo | Sandy Harris
Global Jetsprint Races #16 Sling Shot  Photo | Sandy Harris

I hope you enjoy my photographs in my photo essay below.  Some of the photographs captured the boats in what seems like  somewhere they shouldn’t belong, which makes it that much more interesting.

I sure hope to see you out there at the races and if you see me, stop and say hi!  I am always up for a chat.

 

 

Celebrating Americas Birthday at Dexter Lake

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This July 4th I headed up to Dexter State Park to celebrate Americas birthday and let me tell you, I was in for a treat. Eugene Daily News has played a large roll in this event for the last few years in conjunction with the Dexter Fire Department. The party began at noon and was to go until after the fireworks, with plenty to do in between.

July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris
July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris

It was my first time at Dexter to celebrate so I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  I packed a cooler with some refreshments and last minute food (I like to live on the edge and not put too much thought into that kind of thing) grabbed my fold up chair, a blanket and two large golf umbrellas.  Hey, you never know when it’s going to rain in Oregon right?

Armed with my umbrella’s and 50 SPF sunblock I jetted into town to pick up my friends Cindy Bailey Asay and Salpino (he’s that funny guy who creates those amazing cartoons for EDN) and we headed towards the lake.

July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris
July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris

Our efforts to find the perfect location on the lawn was so well orchestrated, anyone would have thought the three of us had been working as a team for many years.  We claimed a little piece of turf and marked our territory for the evening.  The day started out kind of overcast, however it didn’t take long for the cloud cover to burn off and out came the umbrella’s!  What a relief that was!

The Dexter Fire Department cooked up some amazing BBQ chicken and a few vendors were onsite selling tie dyed clothing and hula hoops. The Steel Pail was there selling ice cold adult beverages and there was even a place selling popsicles for the kids.

July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris
July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Salpino  Photo | Sandy Harris

EDN’s Tim Chewey was the master of ceremonies while Kelly Asay was all over the place, hardly taking a time out to rest his weary feet.  Always with a smile on his face, he made his rounds to ensure all was in order.

Salpino and I decided to take a walk along the waterfront so we could stretch our legs and I could snap some photographs.  We both wanted to check out the rest of the lake for future reference.  There was plenty of shade to go around on the other side of the knoll, I just might be setting up camp there at next years event.

July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris
July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris

The turn out for this years event was pretty high, upwards of 5 thousand people in attendance.  Not too bad if I do say so myself.

The many talented bands that performed from 2 pm on set the mood for fun, BBQ’s, water play and good ole fashioned sit down and visit with new and old friends alike.  The Procrastinators (our very own Kelly Asay’s band) finished off the evening playing some classics as well as their own music.  Tim read the Gettysburg address and afterwards we were sweetly surprised as T.R. Kelly of Steel Wool took to the stage and beautifully sang our Nations Anthem.  Just as she finished the first explosion of fireworks lit up the sky.  For a small community, they sure did it up right.  The fireworks display was amazing.  I am pretty sure seeing them will never get old, bringing the kid out in all of us.

July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris
July 4, 2014 Dexter Lake Photo | Sandy Harris

It was really a great time at the lake that beautiful day and I will be heading up there next year to celebrate with my EDN family and friends.  I really enjoyed the patriotism that was so very evident everywhere you looked. I tried to capture everything and of course took too many photo’s to post here but I hope you will get a great idea of the fun that was had.  Enjoy my photo essay below.

I hope to see you out there next year!

 

There’s Just Something Special About Rogue Farms

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It was Memorial Day weekend and my friend and I were left to our own devices on how we would entertain ourselves. Sonja and I decided we would head out to Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon.  I have never been there before and so I was ready for the excitement to begin.  I grabbed my camera and headed across the street to her house that Saturday Morning, she was the driver for the day.

Eye fuzzy intent on messing up my day.
Eye fuzzy intent on messing up my day

We were set to enjoy our day, making a quick stop at Home Depot so I could look at landscape blocks when an un-welcomed guest decided to disrupt our plans and lodged itself inside my eye.  With a lot of patience, about 20 minutes, a lot of laughter and one twisted paper towel, Sonja was able to extricate the little bugger!

We sat in her car trying to rid ourselves of the tiniest little pest!  By the time she was able to locate the pesky little fuzzy, I had no makeup left on my face and it looked as if I had been crying for days.  I can only imagine what we looked like had someone been watching us.

On with our Journey.

Meandering through the countryside enjoying the wide open fields when we came upon this sweet unexpected town called Buena Vista.  I had seen signs along the way about a ferry crossing and thought it odd but let it go (surely I was mistaken).  Sonja; my partner in crime gave me a little tour and decided we should go see the ferry!  What?  She parked the car; I grabbed my camera and walked down the ramp.

Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris
Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris

There was the coolest little ferry.  It reminded me of my home in Alaska, the ferry is the only way to get to the airport.

The captain fired up the engine and noticed us standing there, he shouted to see if we wanted to go across. “pedestrians are free” he shouted back.  Oh, well then, how could I say no?

A spur of the moment decision to take a look at the ferry afforded us a tiny little boat ride across the Willamette River.  On the other side is Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge.  You can park you car at the Buena Vista park, unload your bike, pay the captain $1.00 to take your bike across the river and have yourself a nice bike ride while watching for wildlife.  Of course you can take your vehicle over as well.  Costs are dependent on vehicle size.  The captain admitted to seeing approximately 100 vehicles per day.  They also have onboard a little freezer that holds ice creams and drinks!  Bonus!  The ferry runs 7am – 7pm.

Buena Vista Flower Shop |  Photo  Sandy Harris
Buena Vista Flower Shop | Photo Sandy Harris

After the very sweet little ferry ride, we hopped into her car to continue our journey.  We drove around the Buena Vista Park and headed out.  Noticing a cute little flower shop located on the corner, we pulled in there as well.  It was so cozy I wanted to live there.  Instructions were written in chalk on how to “bag” your flowers and where to leave the money.  Just as we walked into the shop, the owners came in. We chatted for a bit, purchased some flowers, tucked our bouquets into the car and continued on to Rogue Farms.

Rogue Farms is surrounded by hops, acres upon acres of vines twisting upwards towards the sky.  The road leading to the brewery is lined with signs telling you the type of hop you are looking at.  Who knew there were so many different varieties!

Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris
Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris

We parked in the gravel parking lot and took a small walk over to the “garage sale” to check out their wares and then onto some serious business.  The beer!  We placed our order of beer and fries at Chatoe Rogue, a sweet little shop filled with beers and spirits and just a lot of cool stuff.  We were served up our tasty beers and headed out to the lawn where people were playing Corn Hole and life size Scrabble.  The lawn was surrounded by picnic tables adorned with umbrellas, the hops looming in the background.  Dogs, kids and bicyclists abound.  It was just perfect for anyone.  The sun was getting lower on the horizon, our glasses were empty and our baskets of fries were gone so we headed out for a more in-depth tour of the grounds and to burn those fries off.

We stopped at the rows of hops first, it just wouldn’t be right not to since they were right there, walking around the backside of Chatoe Rogue, we came upon the huge warehouses, each clearly labeled as to what each particular building was used for.  Signs were strategically placed incase one was to get turned around.

Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris
Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris

Not too far from us, seemingly just on the other side of the old farmhouse we could hear a turkey gobbling (or what ever it is they do).  We could also hear the Willamette River and decided to head down to it to take a look.  One of the employees stopped us along the way and asked us if we had seen their pigs or turkey.  We admitted hearing the turkey but were yet to see him.  She told us where we could find the infamous pot bellied pigs Voo & Doo and Tom the turkey.  Anticipation was building as we went in search of Tom, whom I really wanted to meet.

Around the corner came three young men.   We had noticed them earlier up on the lawn.  I had wondered how did they get so wet and where did they come from.   We stopped to chat with them about Tom when it came to light that the three of them were canoeing down the River from Eugene to Portland in memory of their friend Army Ranger Cody James Patterson.

“We were just paddling along when we saw Chatoe Rogue and we knew we had to stop”.

Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris
Jackson Blaise, Charlie Simonds and William Ackermann| Photo Sandy Harris

They had planned to reach portland by Monday.  The 5 of us hit it off immediately, becoming fast friends.  Had they not been on a tighter schedule than us, we probably could have sat there all night and talked, over a beer or two of course.  We chatted with the guys for a little bit and then it was time for them to cast off, but not until we had a little photo-shoot (of course! I am always looking for an opportunity to take photographs and people are my specialty!)  We shook hands and said goodbye, I even got a hug!

Tom was calling to us so we once again left the river and ventured back up towards the farm as our new found friends drifted down the Willamette.  There was a crowd gathering near a pen and inside, what else could there be but Voo and Doo who were reportedly very old.  What ever it was they were eating, there were most definitely enjoying it as their tails furiously wagged back and forth. Tom was becoming impatient with us so after taking some photographs of some baby turkeys (holy cow are they cute) we found Tom, walkin the walk up on the deck of the old farm house.  He came down off the porch (who knew turkey’s could walk up and down stairs) to greet us and showed us how beautiful his feathers were in a display that was pretty amazing.  Tom is pretty big and he waited until he got closer to me when he did his little feather display and it startled me, so I apologize, those pictures didn’t turn out.

Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris
Tom the turkey Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris

Feeling great after sipping some amazing beer and munching on delicious fries, meeting Tom and the drifters, we decided it was time to head home.  Heading back to the car I spotted a wooden swing tucked into a branch up in the tree and pointed it out to Sonja (I absolutely love swinging).  Sonja’s eyes light up and with a big smile said “I’m going to get it down”.  She moseyed on up to that tree like she owned it and down it came.  Oh the simple things in life.  We took turns on it and it was a beautiful thing.

The ride home was just as gorgeous as it was on the way out, the sun was beginning to set a little, it just seemed like a perfect ending to a wonderful day.  I plan to go back to the farm in the not so distant future, perhaps after my bike ride at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge and have a cold one.

Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris
Rogue Farms | Photo Sandy Harris

I hope you too are able to take a drive out to Independence and visit the Rogue Farm, I think you will discover a nice little destination to have a cold beer and some very tasty food.

There was so much to look at, I decided to put a photo essay with this weeks Out and About as well.  Enjoy!

See you out there!

Silver Falls State Park – A Photo Essay

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This has been such a fun and long weekend!  I got to experience a couple of fun and very different things, too much to put in one piece so I thought I would split them up into two parts.

Silver Falls State Park  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Silver Falls State Park Photo | Sandy Harris

In this weeks Out and About I would like to share with you my experience out at Silver Falls State Park.  It is Oregon’s largest park and it boasts 10 breathtaking falls.

This Memorial weekend is often filled with gatherings and barbecues with friends and families, celebrating the men and women who fought for our country and who lost their lives defending it.

Silver Falls State Park  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Silver Falls State Park Photo | Sandy Harris

An untold many have come before us who have paved the way and fought for the things they believed in.  This weekend, I got to experience a piece of history that will continue on forever.  Had it not been for a photographer named June Drake and his relentless efforts so many years ago; Silver Falls would not be here for our pleasure.

My friend Paula and I spent well over 4 hours in the canyon, taking in the amazing falls and foliage.  There were a lot of people out that day and I bet each one of us took away a different experience.  There was so much to look at.  I thought I would share with you photographs of that afternoon, as sometimes a photograph is worth a thousand words (there are more photographs at the end, don’t forget you can click on each one to view a larger photograph).

Silver Falls State Park  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Silver Falls State Park Photo | Sandy Harris

There are plenty of places to have a picnic, swim, and even camp.  You should plan on making a day of it, as there is so much to see.  I know I only scratched a small surface of what is out there in the 9000 acre park.

I would highly recommend a comfortable pair of shoes that you have worn-in, water and snacks.  I saw a good majority of people with small backpacks as well as hiking poles.  Dogs are allowed on leash in certain areas only, so please check that out prior to going.

Silver Falls State Park  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Silver Falls State Park Photo | Sandy Harris

I hope you are able to head out to Silver Falls State Park.  It really is quite amazing.  I have attached a link here for your convenience with more information about the park.

See you out there!

Copyright Sandy Harris – all rights reserved.

Muscle Cars, Chrome, Music and Memories

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This past Saturday was gorgeous (I hope it was in your corner of the world too).  I jumped in my car and headed to the store in search of some car wash to shine my girl up.  Thats one of the best things about summer (I know we still have a little ways to go) for me anyhow.  I get to keep my girl looking nice and spiffy and have an excuse to get the hose out and cool off in the Oregon heat.

Chevy Nova  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Chevy Nova Photo | Sandy Harris

While I was Out and About, I skipped the freeway and headed for the country.  It’s just nice to get off the beaten path and enjoy the green open fields of grass and catch a glimpse of the live stock, plus the eagles are out this time of year too.  I always carry my camera with me because I just never know what might catch my interest.

I turned onto highway 34 towards Lebanon, my window’s rolled down, the top open.  Coming into town the speed limit dropped to 25 miles per hour when it happened.  I heard music that was louder than my own and that is when I saw the cars! Classic cars, an entire lot full of them.  Have I mentioned I love classic cars?

Chevy Nova  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Chevy Nova Photo | Sandy Harris

It was my lucky day, I love spur of the moment decisions.  This was totally unexpected and what’s a girl with a camera to do?  I flipped my left turn blinker on and whipped right into a nearby parking lot, stashed my purse in my car and grabbed my best friend and headed across the street.

In my opinion, nothing is cooler than hearing awesome music blasting from speakers in a lot full of beautiful cars.

Classic cars shined to the nines, the owners kicked back in their fold up lounge chairs, coolers nearby hanging around to answer questions that may come up, sparkles of pride shown in their eyes when they catch you checkin out their ride.

Chevy Nova  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Chevy Nova Photo | Sandy Harris

I guess for me, the lure to these classics is like an old neighborhood.  You know, the big homes with the big front porches. Downtown Eugene is lined with them in the residential area.  I always wonder about the people who used to live in them, wonder what it was like to live during that time when the homes were new so many years ago.  How safe the streets were back then, all that kind of stuff.

The cars; well, American Graffiti comes to mind.  I think about the straight-leg jeans rolled up at the ankle and the white tee-shirts the boys used to wear, maybe even with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in their sleeve, hair slicked back and cruising in their muscle cars.  The girls riding shotgun wearing their poodle skirts, bobby socks, their scarves tied just right around their neck and pulled to the side, bouffant hair and not a strand out of place.  Visions of them parked at the top of Skinners Butte.

I snapped some photographs here and there, some cars so shiny they reflected the car next to them perfectly.

I rounded the corner and stopped in my tracks.  Before me was a 1963 Cherry Red Nova SS, white top with its hood open, staring right back at me!  She was a beauty! I peaked my head inside the window and admired the red seats, and dash board, the stick shift… Everything.

Chevy Nova  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Checkin out the 1963 Chevy Nova SS in Lebanon Owner Bob & Doranna Morris

This is the car my parents brought me home in after I was born (not the exact car of course).  I’ll leave the year out but their car was all red.  I guess my smile was pretty big because the owner came over and asked if I would like to sit in it?  I could hardly contain my excitement!

He opened the door for me, I climbed in, took hold of the wheel and let me tell you… She fit me like a glove.  I felt as if I was home.  I have never felt like that inside a vehicle before.  I can’t explain it, but it was true love.

After a mini photo shoot I reluctantly climbed out.  I chatted with Bob for a little bit about the car.  He told me the story about how he surprised his wife with it once upon a time.  He purchased it for her in cherry condition a few years back.  He even showed me the trunk, everything was original, it even had the stickers on the inside of it!

Chevy Nova  Photo  |  Sandy Harris
Chevy Nova Photo | Sandy Harris

Remember that music I was telling you about earlier?  Bob dangled the keys to the Chevy in front of me, teasing me.  He said he would let me start the car if I could name the artist who was singing the song that was playing at that moment… That has never been my strong suit and that just wasn’t fair.  Teasing a girl like that!  Shame on you Bob! (thank you for letting me sit in your sweet ride tho!).

Perhaps one day I will have a classic, but for now I don’t mind admiring them up close.  I get to take photographs of them, enjoying a myriad of them, all summer long as a matter of fact.

The season is upon us for many more cruise-ins.  I found a great website that lists them throughout Oregon.  You can check them out here.

Mark your calendars for May 31, 2014.  The Function 4 Junction is here already!  Take a look here for details.

One of the sleeper cruise-ins is in Shedd, Oregon.  This is a pretty big affair and happens each Thursday.  They all meet up at the Shedd Cafe, which has some pretty awesome food from what I understand.  Located on Hwy. 99E between Halsey Oregon and Tangent.

If you know of other cruise-ins, please feel free to list them below in the comments section.

Shed will be my first official stop for the summer this coming Thursday.

Hope to see you out there!

A Mother’s Day Well Spent at Dorris Ranch

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I take my time opening the lid to my lotion, I feel it’s silkiness between my fingers as I warm it.  I lightly tilt my head back as I caress the lotion along my neck.  I notice the wrinkles that have formed on my neck and chest where the skin, it used to be tighter.  I gently move my long hair around to my back; tilt my head to the left as I smooth the lotion across my shoulder, I catch a glimpse of the grey hair that seems to have snuck up on me.  I squint a little harder to see, there are more and more each day.  My eyesight isn’t quite what she used to be either.

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

I see the wrinkles around my lips begin to form and my hands are not as smooth and flawless as they used to be in my younger day.  I smooth the lotion down my legs and I see the veins that appear, they too seem to shout out that youth is no longer, and I wonder can others see them as I do?

My legs are not as firm any longer and my skin looks a little different even from the day before.  Moving up to my belly, I smooth lotion over the marks that were left behind, reminding me of the children that once grew with in me, reminding me I am a mother.

The marks tell me the story of motherhood.  Me.  Being a mom.  I never would have known the sacrifices I was to make for my children because when you are a mother, you are selfless.  I will never know the impact I had on them, I can only hope that I did things right.  Nor will they ever truly know the love I hold for them within my heart, within my very being, this too is true for my own mother and me.

I am a mother.  I am strong.  I am determined.  I am compassionate.  I am kind.  I am a mother.

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

I wanted to write this because a friend of mine said “You never struck me as looking like a mom”.  I am not quite sure what a mom is supposed to look like, perhaps it is what a dad looks like.

I like to do something special for mothers day each year, experience something new.  My children are grown and each live on opposite ends of the United States so I am typically alone.  Trying to decide on what to do this year, I settled on Dorris Ranch in Springfield, Oregon.  I have wanted to visit there since 2000, I figured it was time.

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

As soon as I decided on my course for the day, it seemed I couldn’t get out the door fast enough.  I cut up an apple, tossed that and some grapes into my ziplock, grabbed my camera and headed for the door.

Cruising down the freeway with Springfield on my mind, blue skies and fluffy clouds above, I thought to myself the apple and grapes wouldn’t hold me over for very long, especially if I spent a couple of hours on the ranch, so I stopped by my favorite “fast food” restaurant; Cafe’ Yumm and ordered a Jazzy to go.  I made it down to Rite Aide on Pioneer Parkway before I busted into my lunch.  It just seemed to be calling to me from inside the paper bag.

I really had no idea what I would find once I got to Doris Ranch, but then again, that is the beauty of exploring.  There is plenty of parking and its free to wander through the 100 year old filbert orchards!  How can you beat that?

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

Established in 1892 by George Dorris and his wife Lulu, the two dedicated their lives growing and cultivating the 250 acre orchard.  George experimented with several different crops and settled on the filbert; making Oregon the first Filbert nut orchard in the United States.  Over the next 50 years, more than 9 thousand trees were planted and to this day, over half of the worlds Filbert trees have come from Dorris Ranch’ nursery orchard.  70 thousand tons of Filberts come out of the ranch each year!  That’s pretty impressive.

Before you begin to walk down into the orchard there is a small garden surrounded by sweet little wooden hand painted signs tucked inside the fencing.  I thought this was a sweet way to begin an afternoon.

It was such a pleasure walking through the orchards.  I tried to imagine what it was like for them, so very long ago.  The labor of love they had for the ranch is apparent.

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

The birds sang and chirped as they flew within the orchards, a slight breeze captured my hair, tossing it around and kept me cool during that walk throughout the ranch.   I could hear the Willamette River once in awhile.  There is just something alluring about rushing water that has an ability to draw you to it, curiosity over taking you until you lay eyes upon it.  I headed for it and discovered another path, only this path was paved.  It is brand new and opened in October of 2013.  It is a nice place to ride your bike, or walk your dog.  I came across many families, couples and single people along the paths that afternoon.  It is pet friendly so that makes it even nicer.  They do ask that you keep your dog on a leash.

I think I must have walked around 6 miles this past mothers day.  Before I headed home, I had two stop’s to make.  I went to get my favorite drink at Dutch Brothers.  They had a special for all moms and any drink was only $1.00.  I just love Dutch Brothers, they do so much for the community and the barista’s simply rock!

Dorris Ranch
Dorris Ranch

There really is only one thing better than a pedicure to sooth your aching feet and that is getting a manicure as well!  I had a fabulous day on Sunday and so happy I finally went.  It was a great mothers day.

I hope you are able to enjoy a trip out to Dorris Ranch.  It really is quite amazing.  Pack a light lunch, a blanket to sit on and grab a friend for a picnic or a nice relaxing bike ride.  Here is a peak at what I saw while I was there.  I won’t be waiting so long before I go back.

See you out there!

 

Car Maintenance, A Do It Yourself Guide

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We are not all car savvy and automatically know what to do with our cars; how to keep them updated on their maintenance and all that kind of (man) stuff.  I learned a few things this past weekend and thought I would share what I learned.  It may save you some time and some money.  If I can do something myself, hey, I’m all up for that!  Plus it keeps me in the know about my car and in “tune” with how she’s running.

Brake light components
Brake light components Bulb Replacement

I was due for some new tires, WAY over due to be honest. I am actually quite embarrassed to say just how overdue I am.  I drive my car like crazy and just took it for granted she would get me where ever I needed to go.  I noticed I was hydroplaning and kind of “slipping” as I went around corners from a dead stop (no, it wasn’t because I was peeling out).  This is when I noticed my tires were bald.  It was so bad, the tread was barely there.  I know, I know, I should have taken more care to notice but sometimes, well… life gets in the way.

I have been extremely cautious driving since I noticed they were bald, especially in the rain.  Driving only when necessary until I could get new ones.  Here is a link that explains how to test your tire tread.

Bulb Replacement Supplies
Bulb Replacement Supplies

I called my favorite tire shop to check prices (since it has been a few years since my last pair).  I know its not about looks, but to be honest, I searched online and found some pretty ones!  They were rated high on comfort with low road noise.  Pretty easy decision.  So when my tire guy suggested these same tires which were rated at 70 thousand miles, I jumped at it.  But it would take a week before I could actually get them put on.

The last time I needed tires, I had no idea where to start.  My uncle explained that I needed to get the numbers off the side of my tires that were on my car at the time (I didn’t even know they were there!)  If you have never purchased tires before it isn’t as scary as it seems.  If you look at the walls of your tires you will see a bunch of number.  They tell a story about the size and height and speed your tires are rated for, as well as what type of vehicle they fit on.  You will need these in order to know which ones to look for.  Here is a link that explains those numbers for you.

It typically takes about an hour for the tire center to put my new tires on, I had them change the oil since it was due too.  When I brought my car in, I asked them to check my brakes while they had my tires off (might as well make sure I was safe since they were in there anyhow).

Bulb Replacement
Bulb Replacement

My guy called me about 20 minutes later to tell me about their inspection.  I held my breath as there is usually dollar sign’s attached.  The report wasn’t too bad.  In about another month, I would need new brakes on the front, the back brakes were just fine (my first thought was to ask them to rotate my brakes, but I’m pretty sure they don’t do that).  I needed new spark plugs (the ones on my car were rated for 100K miles).  My girl is fast approaching that milestone.

I had a brake light out and he suggested I change my cabin filter and there was major corrosion around the terminal of my battery.  I know they would have been happy to take care of all of this for me, but I declined for a few reasons.  Number one, tires are not all that inexpensive and two, I knew I could take care of a few things myself.

I picked my girl up, paid my bill and headed for the store to get new wipers, and brake lights.  I went to one of our local major chain stores and beelined it straight to the automotive section (like I spend all of my extra time there.  I only know where it is because I avoid it at all costs) and acted like I knew exactly what I was doing.

Wiper Blades
Wiper Blades

I used to cringe every time it rained because my wipers would skid, hop and jump across my windshield every time I turned them on, causing me to grit my teeth every single time it rained.  It was so loud, I had to turn my music up just to drown out the noise!

I thought perhaps it was because I had gone “cheap”  and was now paying the price, but to the contrary, it was because they were old and worn!  Huh!  I had no idea that they only last a certain amount of time.  Weather has a major effect on them.  I found out that you should change your wipers every six months.  In Oregon, we really put them through the paces with all the rain (imagine the island I grew up on has 3 times the amount of rain Oregon gets!)  and in the summer months, they get dried out.  They are cheap enough to change them often.

wiper book
Wiper Blade Parts Book

They make it pretty easy to find the right size for your car.  In the automotive section where the wipers are you should find a book they have handy for your convenience.  Simply find the make and model and year of your car and it will list the wiper size you need.  Piece of cake!  Mine were 16 and 24 (the numbers are universal between makers).  Make sure you don’t just grab two of the same size, they may be different.

I grabbed three different ones off the rack, a generic, Michelin and Bosch and compared them to each other.  I chose the Bosch, I can’t really explain why, perhaps they sounded more important.  I proudly laid them in my cart and moved onto the brake lights.  The price was about $7.00 each.

I opened the book (yep, they have one for the lights too), looked up the make and model of my car, and found the ones I needed within about a minute.  Boom, that easy!    Since it was spa day for my car, I decided to grab an air freshener on the way out of the aisle.

Wiper Blades
Wiper Blades Installation Directions

From the comfort of my couch, I read the instructions (there are also great tutorials on youtube) on how to install the wipers.  To be honest, I think it took longer to get the blades out of package than it did to change them.  Next,  I armed myself with the gloves I purchased at the dollar store, my Phillips screwdriver and my new brake lights.

I want to point out, I am not afraid to get my hands dirty, the gloves were for the bulbs.  You want to make sure you Do Not touch the bulbs with your fingers because the oil from your skin will shorten the life of the bulb.

I removed the light casings on my tail lights with my screwdriver, pushed in the bulb slightly, rotated it until it gave way and popped right out, put the new bulb in, screwed the casing back on and changed the other side as well.  A whole 5 minutes.  Even though only one of my brake lights was burned out, I changed them both.  The other was sure to go soon after, so why not.  They are really inexpensive, only a couple of dollars for two.

Battery Terminal Corrosion
Battery Terminal Corrosion

Next, I had to clean the battery terminal.  I had no idea what I was going to find once I popped the hood.  It wasn’t pretty!  To clean the corrosion from your battery terminals is simple with a homemade concoction of baking soda and water!  Simply make a mixture of half baking soda and water (I would say I mixed about 1/4 cup water with the same amount of baking soda) mix it well and pour a small amount over the terminal where the corrosion is.  It will immediately start to foam (it’s kind of cool really).  Give it a few minutes to work and then go at it with an old toothbrush.  Rinse it with water and repeat if necessary.  Almost as good as new!

Baking Soda on Battery Terminal
Baking Soda on Battery Terminal

Mine was pretty bad, so I will be popping my hood once a month to keep it under control.  Why does this happen, I am not quite sure, but I know how to resolve the corrosion on my own so no need to pay someone to take care of it for me, and now you will too.  It’s a really good idea to check this because keeping those little terminals clean of corrosion will prolong the life of your battery and ensure your car starts when you turn your ignition on.  Please use caution when doing this, and use eye protection.

I hope this has helped a little.  It’s always fun to roll up your sleeves and jump in.  I feel a little closer to my car now.  Next are the spark plugs and brakes!

Be safe out there!  And go check your tire tread.

 

 

Give Blood, Give Life. Celebrate Earth Day With Lane Blood Center

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Lane Blood Center has made a commitment to saving lives and doing wonderful things in the community.  Earth Day is April 22 but Lane Blood Center is celebrating Earth Day 2014 for the entire month of April!

Trees For The Future.  Plant Trees.  Change Lives
Trees For The Future. Plant Trees. Change Lives.

In honor of each donation of blood, Lane Blood Center will purchase a tree from Trees For The Future; a nonprofit organization that helps to plant trees in developing countries, and plant a tree in your honor. Up to two thousand trees will be purchased.

Not only will your donation help to save lives but will continue to give for many years.  A pint of blood can save up to three lives.  That is pretty amazing.

Giving blood only takes about 45 minutes and its pretty easy. To donate blood, you should be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds, be 16 or older and have had a good protein rich meal 4 hours prior to donation.  Being well hydrated is also recommended.

Lane Blood Center is located at 2211 Willamette Eugene, Oregon and is open 10 am – 6 pm Monday – Wednesday, 8 am – 3:30 pm Thursday – Friday and 8 am – 12 pm Saturday. Please stop by or call 541-484-9111 to make an appointment.

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