Archives for posts with tag: Rogue River

Leaving the beautiful redwoods was hard… really hard, but we had the coastline to see so it was back in the car for the ride up 101 toward Gold Beach. Everywhere you look there are these craggy outcroppings. I really wanted to make the walk to the lighthouse but we arrived too late and the tide was already coming in covering the land bridge. We found a hotel room in time to enjoy this pretty sunset over the Pacific. It is a very different kind of beauty than we are used to on the gulf coast. The rocky beaches are filled with driftwood. It is not as user friendly as our sugar white sand,

but lends itself to some great campfires on the beach, as we learned. People started pouring in at sundown to claim their spots.

Soon, someone invited us to join them around their fire for some great wine and cheese and other munchies. Wasn’t that nice?

The next day we crossed back over into Oregon and continued the drive up the chilly coast.

I’m getting a bit confused but I believe this was coming into Gold Beach where the Rogue River empties into the Pacific Ocean. Isn’t that a lovely little bridge.

Don Sawyer, one of Jeff’s Excellent Artist from Florida, would have approved of this. Area schoolchildren’s artwork decorated the pier.

This is where it starts to get amusing to me.  We are driving along this famous highway that I have always wanted to see, it’s a beautiful day and this is what I catch myself doing:

doodling in my journal and daydreaming about good ole Morrison’s Lodge on the Rogue ( read earlier post here).

(I’m sorry but I just find that hilarious. LOL)

So ya know what we did? Turned east and headed right back to that wonderful river for one more night.

Finally, it was time to make our way back to Medford for an early morning flight and the long trip home but not before we had the chance to explore the two little “must see” cities of Jacksonville ( why do I feel like my life revolves around  Jacksonvilles no matter where I go? haha) and Ashland. Ahh, Ashland, we loved you: Such an art-driven town.

Downtown Ashland sculpture

My beloved mountain streams meander through the downtown area.

The shopping was fun. I thought the grands would have loved this miniature bike. NO, I didn’t get it. They would be cool dudes in it but remember, we have the 1-year-old who has already tried to hang from the dining room chandelier and has crawled into the front load dryer and happily played hamster, rolling the drum. His slightly older sister has requested a rock star birthday party. No motorcycles for them!

One reason we felt so at home here is that Ashland is home to a fantastic Shakespeare theater as is our hometown of Montgomery, Al.

“To be or not to be….”

All the world is a stage. And I never met one I didn’t like. smile

Embarrassing I know but fun. This was my favorite of their three theater stages. It looks like you are walking into a building but once inside you realize the stage is open air. Grandbaby girl got my genes. When she sees a stage she says, “humon (come on) Gigi, let’s go sing and dance!” I love that kiddo. I know this is a little strange but we were told that we shouldn’t leave the area without visiting the historic cemetery in Jacksonville. Not only were the graves ancient but it occupies the highest point around with great views of the surrounding wine country. We obliged.

In the Jewish section when people visit they leave “remembrance stones” on the monuments. I liked that.

We think we checked off every box on our “want to see” list. Whew.

We closed the trip with a visit here for some good fruit and fresh jams:

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I hope it inspired you to plan your own trip. When you get back send me some pics!

And if you would like to say, “That was fun!” at the end of your project contact me at

After  a couple of days fishing we headed off to see what this beautiful part of the world had to offer. My friend, Linda Ford, told me that we had to eat at “the restaurant in Medford’s old depot” so after a little detective work we made reservations for dinner at Porter’s Train Station  Restaurant and Bar and we are glad that we did. What a beautifully restored old building with ivy gracefully climbing its facade.

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The theme here is decidedly “train” but tastefully done. You can choose from several dining spaces:

curtained booths reminiscent of the old dining cars that used to pull into the depot to pick up and let off passengers

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a lovely walled courtyard with party lights and umbrellas

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or the two story bar.

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Wherever you decide to sit you can be assured that the food will be wonderful.

We started off with a salad of fresh Oregon organic greens topped with glazed walnuts, Rogue River Creamery blue cheese and a homemade blackberry vinaigrette dressing. Delish

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This was followed by our first ever hazelnut encrusted steelhead served on a bed on steamed spinach. Not my cute little half-pounder that likes Hebrew ( see former post) but just a plain ole generic steelhead and it was fantastic.

The manager even sent over a bottle of local wine.

If you are ever in Medford, Oregon check them out and tell them we sent you!

Early Saturday morning we set out for Crater Lake National Park about an hour away.

Breath taking. The lake was formed when a volcano erupted and then imploded creating a basin that was then filled with run-off and melted snow . The average snowfall at Crater Lake is 533 inches every year. That’s about 44 feet! That’s a LOT of snow to a southern girl. They say that if you go at Christmas you are actually snowshoeing in the tops of the trees. Wow! Its depth of 1,943 feet (592 meters) makes it the deepest lake in the United States, and the seventh deepest in the world. Its fresh water is some of the clearest found anywhere in the world. Indeed it looks like the Mediterranean’s water and the mountains are as close to Switzerland as I have seen in this country.

It was very desert like around the crater.

And the ground was filled with these little red flowers whose dried leaves made an eerie sound that one family near us mistook for a rattlesnake.

You can drive around the entire perimeter which takes about 3 hours, or you can take a trolley (which I highly recommend since the road is so narrow and winding with sheer bluffs on the side that the driver cannot takes his/her eye off the road for a second)

These cute little ground squirrels were everywhere. No, they were not chipmunks.

You can also take a boat ride to the two islands located in the center of the lake but prepare for that with hats and sunscreen. That’s about a two-hour ride and the boat is open.

When you get to the tip top you are rewarded with one of the most award worthy architectural feats around: a remarkable stone and cedar lodge literally perched on the very edge of the crater. Even after watching the videos showing them building it, it was difficult for me to wrap my head around how it was even possible.

You know I’m going to love it when I walk inside and find a walk-in stone fireplace with roaring fire and real bark covering the staircase.  This was craftsmanship at its best.

One day, if I can gather any information on it, I will have to dedicate a post to its construction.

Across the entire back, just outside the restaurant where I had the best salad and clam chowder of the trip was this veranda.


From here one can begin to grasp the size of this lake but as I review these pictures I realize again that you just cannot capture it on film.

Tomorrow, we head to the Redwood Forest!

If you would like to say, ‘That was fun!” at the end of your project contact us at


I love being the wife of The Writer.

He was on assignment a few weeks ago to cover fly fishing in Southern Oregon and I got to tag along.  Sweet! Now, not being the out-doorsy type I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this but neither of us had ever seen that part of the country so we were excited and ready for an adventure.

Up at 3am (yep, that was the bad part) we headed off to Montgomery Regional for a 5:30 flight to Atlanta, then to Salt Lake City and finally to Medford, Oregon. From there we rented a little red Ford Focus and started the 45 minute drive to Morrison’s Lodge on the Rogue River in Merlin, Oregon. Woo hoo! This is happening.

Our first stop was for lunch at the Taprock in Grant’s Pass.

We were sure we had made a really wrong turn when they seated us at a table out on the balcony overlooking the river and we saw what appeared to be an exact replica of the river bridge in downtown Wetumpka, Alabama. Crazy.

Nourished and grateful for the leg stretch we set the Garmin for Merlin and it was Oregon or bust!

Winding through mountains and over streams that looked a bit like North Carolina but not as smoky we crossed the arched yellow trestle bridge that meant we were within sight of our destination.

Morrison’s Lodge is run by a precious family headed by Dad Lowell Pratt. The whole family is involved and they make you feel like family.

Famous for two things: orange rolls

and fishing

they set out to make us fall in love with both. They succeeded.

One of Jeff’s “excellent artists” is a winsome guy named James Sampsel who also happens to be a professional fly fishing and rafting guide on the Rogue. James is now an official member of our family. He has a God given gift of hospitality and loves to serve. We met, officially, when he came bounding across the grass as Jeff and I sat in white Adirondack chairs taking in the lake view behind the lodge.

Wrapping us in hug that felt like we were still in the South he welcomed us to his world and began to explain what was in store for the next few days.

Rising at 6 we dressed in multiple layers, grabbed the camera and a cup of piping coffee and headed for the truck.

There we met James

and our photographer, Lenore, who would be trailing us in an inflatable kayak to capture the story for us.

I could get used to this.

As the rising sun danced on the water we shoved off in James’ float boat

that he has embellished with painted images of a “fly” and a jumping  fish

and entered the chilly waters of The Rogue for the first time.

For the first several hours we learned the “twitch” method of fly fishing where you cast once and then just twitch the fly by doing a small wrist flick ever few seconds while the poor guide oars for hours guiding the boat back and forth across the water tempting the ever elusive steelhead to take the bait. They say that a really good fisherman will land a steelhead every 8 hours…hmmm

I seemed to be an expert at catching seaweed as for every few minutes I was having to reel in or forward cast to try to “lose the salad” as James would say. I spent the majority of my morning doing that but Jeff was getting “taps” on his line often.

Finally, “I’ve got one!” he shouted. “Stay calm, don’t move the line yet.

 Now, gently lift the line and set the hook. Good. Now slowly reel in the line keeping the tension on it.” All the while James was rowing toward shore so he could assist in landing the fish.

With James now in the water Jeff fought the little bugger until he was close enough to the boat for James to gently grab him.

– a cute little “half pounder”- and hand him off to Jeff for a photo op. SUCCESS!

By now we had worked up an appetite so we beached the boat and James pulled out a quite delicious  lunch spread that the inn prepared for us. He even had a little pop-up table AND a table cloth, thank you very much.

He was distressed that he could not do a pretty presentation as he would on his overnight trips but all he had to work with was Tupperware and plastic.

While we finished our brownies, James began the demonstration of how to spey cast which is a one rod, two hand method of fly fishing that you use while wading.

YES! Now was my Ralph Lauren moment when I got to don the gear and step into that rushing river for the first time and show my stuff.

So why do I just look fat and grungy? This is not what my fantasy picture looked like at all. Air brush. I demand air brush!

Honestly, I can’t believe it myself but this was more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Great shot James Sampsel!

But I still had not landed a Steelhead.

Up again at 6 for day 2 on the beautiful Rogue I was determined. James told me that you had to have confidence to catch these sly little fish so I made some changes. I chose a different fly- one that looked like a cross between a bumble bee and a skunk with 3 bling-blings on its back. That outta do it. Then I made Jeff change sides of the boat with me and we were off.

Immediately the changes began to show results. Poor Jeff started to catch “salad” right off the bat. LOL.  Hour 1 passed… no fish. Hour 2… nothing. I told Jeff he was going to have to pull out his guitar or SOMETHING to make these fisheys happy.

 There is a Hebrew blessing that I just love and am often asked to sing so he said that I should sing it to the fish. Ahh… Ok, but heck, I am out of my box –right? I am game. I began to sing.

“Baruch hashem, Adonai. Baruch hashem, Adonaaaaiii. SHAZAM!!! I felt a hit.

“James! I’ve got one!!!”

“Girl! He likes your singin. Reel him in… real slow.”

“ Did you see him jump?!?”

“ Nice and steady. I’m getting out of the boat.”

And then, before you could bat an eye I had ‘im in my hands. A cute little half-pounder. Who knew Steelheads liked Jewish prayer songs?

If you EVER get a chance to go to Southern Oregon, GO and stay at Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge. Tell Lowell we sent you then request James for a day of fun on the river.

To read a different perspective on the trip be sure to check out Jeff’s article  in Boom Magazine on the stands now.

And…if you would like to say, “That was fun!” at the end of your project contact me at

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