Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Last full day in Ashland

The plan originally had been to leave Ashland yesterday, but the mail I was expecting from home didn't get here on Monday or Tuesday so I extended my stay another day.  I thought, for sure, it would be here today; late this afternoon, when it hadn't arrived, I drove to the Post Office in town and was told that I'd have to talk with a supervisor tomorrow morning to see if I might be able to intercept it before it goes out with the postal carrier because he doesn't get to this RV park until later in the afternoon.  So, I may be paying for two RV sites again tomorrow.  

So, today I took a few more lovely photos of this beautiful country that's called Southern Oregon ....
This was taken from a gas station close in to downtown.  What a beautiful back-drop for a wonderful city.  And, check out those magnificent clouds.

Turning just to my right from the above angle, I took a telephoto shot of this lovely rock formation.  It's probably about 5 miles away as the crow flies

My neighbor, CC, and I went in to Ashland this noon for lunch at Ruby's.  We each ordered a Ruben sandwich and we both liked them.  A cute little lunch spot, we opted to eat indoors as it was once again close to 90 outside.  This evening these clouds have taken on a little moisture so we may have a rain shower before morning.

This CC's cat, named Bohdi (or is it Bodhi? - not sure);  he's half Siamese and half Rag-Doll.  What a beautiful cat and he's quite the trooper, liking to walk on a leash to check out new areas.  He's five years old and very mellow.

Here's another photo of Bohdi/Bodhi; unfortunately after taking several shots I realized the crystal clear blue of his eyes is not going to show up in the pix.  They are gorgeous.

Bodhi is one great cat.  Lacy has made friends with him, and, of course, with his brother, Tucker, whose photo was in my blog a couple of days ago.  Beautiful, handsome, well-behaved, quiet, secure, friendly, inquisitive, what more could one want?  CC and I agree that our pets are very important  to us.  Lacy has played better with Tucker than any other dog since Bella died.

Bella October 4, 2005 - November 8, 2012
I still miss her terribly.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Medford, Oregon ... Home of Harry and David

Monday is a day for the drive 15 miles north to the home of Harry and David, the company many of us associate with office / work Christmas gifts and parties.  I've always loved their products, especially their sweets!

First a little background history:  Harry and David's was founded in 1910, when a successful Seattle hotelier, Samuel Rosenberg, sold his hotel and purchased 240 acres of pear tree orchards in Medford, Oregon. Upon his demise in 1914, the orchards were taken over by his sons, Harry and David, who grew and sold pears and other produce locally.  During the Great Depression, the brothers decided they needed to find other venues / opportunities for their business; they put together several lovely gift baskets, boarded a train in Oregon and traveled to the Big Apple, where they presented baskets to large firms there with the suggestion of using these fruits for customer recognition during the Holiday Season.  Thus began the highly successful mail order business of  Harry and David, known best for their "Fruit of the Month" club and their "Tower of Gifts."  The family-owned company was sold in 2004 to an investment firm and is still privately held.  It is the single largest employer in the Rogue River Valley of Oregon with 2,500 permanent employees and over 3,000 seasonal employees.  The company is recognized for being good to their employees; the average H and D worker having over ten years with the firm.  There are 3200 acres of fruit trees and they use 30,000 gallons of Guittard liquid chocolate per year that is delivered 2-3 times per week from Guittard Chocolate Company, headquartered in Burlingame, California.  They have their own delivery system that delivers to regional FedEx terminals, to then be delivered everywhere else.

I'm off from the camp about 11:30 for the short drive up I-5 to Medford for my scheduled kitchen tour  at Harry and David at 12:30.  The tour tickets are $5 each but you're given a $5 coupon to spend in the store after the tour.  Here are several unretouched shots of the store, where the tour begins and ends, and the first half of the tour itself.  [I found out the hard way that the memory card in my camera has not deleted photos after I've uploaded to my computer so I didn't have enough space to shoot the last portion of the tour.  A nice gentleman with the group has offered to send me photos of the fruit preparation and packing areas when he gets home to Michigan].

This is the beautiful store where I could be tempted to spend my life's savings!

The lady giving us the tour has been a H&D employee for 25 years.

This is the butter waiting to be added to the giant vat along with other ingredients to make the caramel coating for Moose Munch.  There are something like 13 different flavors of Moose Munch.  Yum!

 The caramel is just right when the popped corn is added and coated with  sensationally delicious caramel.  Lecithin is added to the batch so that the popcorn doesn't clump.

One batch of  basic Moose Munch headed for the machine that makes the various flavors.

 Scrumptiously clean atmosphere
Baklava - the best this side of Greece and Turkey
 Cookies - filled, dipped, good
 Coffee cakes and fruit cakes
Already preparing Christmas fruit cakes - about 8 different flavors.  This is a three-citrus fruit cake.

Oh, oh, where are the workers?  Employees work in teams; the whole team takes breaks and lunch at the same time, rather than having lunch-break substitute workers.
Also, the team members do all components of the work so they're vested in the results.  For many jobs, the employee earns an hourly wage + an incentive for productivity and accuracy.
                                                                        This lady is inspecting white chocolate truffles - I do have        
to admit I might not be such a chocoholic if I had to
smell it all day.  It's sooo sweet!
                         Here is a photo of a photo of Harry and David - 
their temperaments and interests were complimentary.
One liked the marketing and sales aspects of the business;
the other the day to day operations.    What a team.

Recently Found Cousin and New Friends .....

How do a 'recent' cousin and 'new' friends go together.  Here's the story:

I've mentioned several times that I went to Guatemala in 2011, ostensibly for three weeks of Spanish lessons.  Well, by the end of week two I knew darn well I was not going to be able to speak Spanish in three weeks.  And, because I had retired the week I left for Antigua, I realized I didn't HAVE to go home right away.  I kind of promised myself I'd 'stay until I could speak with some semblance of knowledge.  Well, I stayed for almost a year and a half!

During my extended learning process I also did lots of volunteer work, which I'll talk more about in a later blog; suffice it to say, Guatemala is an economically very poor country with lots of need for volunteers to help bring them into the 21st century.  However, it's very rich in many ways and I loved my time there.

Back to my story ....  I was invited to attend a Christmas party (2011) at one of the Foundations for which I volunteered.  I went with my good Guatemala friend, Deet.  She's a Gringo whose lived in Antigua for 20 years and knows everybody, so she's introduced me to lots of ex-pats, Guatemalans and others.  My curiosity was peaked when she presented me to her friend, Linda C.  Why?  Because Linda's last name is the family name of my long-since-deceased mother.  She explained to me that it was her maiden name.  Long story short, we're cousins who'd never met before that introduction in Guatemala!  

Linda and I became instantaneously BFFs; she now lives permanently in Antigua but travels all over the World from there.  We found that we're not only kin but kindred spirits too.  We share the love of anything having to do with food:  reading about and studying, cooking, baking, entertaining.  We also both love to read and have varied but similar tastes in reading.  And, we're both swimmers.  Linda is a treasure in my life.

How does this story relate to my stay in Ashland, Oregon?  I've shared about my new friends, Richard and Joyce; I originally met them in Antigua at Linda's beautiful home at a dinner party given in their honor.  They were in Guatemala in November 2012 working with the Foundation they founded in the 80s and continue to direct, Legacy Foundation‎,  a wonderful non-profit organization helping people and communities, through teaching and support, in, I think, 65 countries around the World.  They're friends of Linda's, and now friends of mine too.

So, shortly before I left Guatemala for home Linda hosted a delightful dinner party for them and I was invited.  Voila!  A month ago, Linda let them know I'd be traveling through Ashland; Joyce emailed an invitation and the rest is contained in the posts and photos of their wonderful hospitality and beautiful Ashland aurroundings.

A 'staged' photo op for MP and Cuz Linda, both wearing shoes Linda had bought in Chicago, while she was 'home' a month earlier.  The setting is her magnificent Colonial home in Antigua.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday is for Medford

Sunday turns out to be a very pleasant day; I consider the gentle rain here in Southern Oregon to be such a welcomed change with mid-day temperature in the 70s.  In the later afternoon I prepare for a party at Joyce and Richard's.

 It's a 'neighborhood party,' I guess you'd call it that even when the 'neighbors' each amicably live on several-acre-ranches in this bucolic 'neighborhood.'  It's just the kind of gathering I'm thankful to be included in as I travel on this adventure; there are ten of us - nine who have such entertaining stories related to life in rural Ashland.  Most are transplants from other places who've chosen this locale for its beauty and life-style.  I gather that this 'neighborhood' was, at one time, one large piece of property, now divided into smaller, individually-owned parcels.  As happens in so many neighborhoods, these folks have one near-by resident, who of course was not present, and who they describe as 'weird, obsessed, strange, out there, unbalanced, other-worldly, .....'   This gentleman's vocation, from what I gather, is managing a website concerned with observation of aliens anti-polical jargon, etc.  You get the picture!

They share that there is one well and one main source of electricity shared by the six ranches, making it necessary for there to be participation and accord in paying for their usage.   It is generally thought by the group that this 'other-worldly' fellow appears to be using much more than his share of the resources for his various activities and guests; some of the couples have actually installed meters to gauge personal usage, so they've been able to deduce his usage; but the cost is equally shared by all.

Of course, my participation in the jovial nature of the evening is relegated to listening and laughing at some of their stories, complete with imitations of voices and body language,  about this 'outrageous' neighbor.  The evening provides me with new acquaintances with whom I share a delightful several hours, along with a delicious Sunday supper buffet prepared by Joyce and neighbor ladies.  A good time is had by all.

Today I have a reservation to go on a kitchen tour of Harry and David in Medford at noon; I'm looking forward to it as I've always loved receiving those christmas gift baskets from surgeons and hospital administrations throughout my long tenure in surgical services.  Food is always a wonderful choice of gift for hard-working docs, nurses and staff in a busy OR during the holiday season.  With several 'towers' of easily handled snacks all during the month of December each year, I hardly had to think about preparing a bag lunch for work.  So, now I'm going to see how Moose Munch and H&D Baklava are made.  Maybe after the tour, just a short walk through their store!

This is the same gaggle of geese I photographed the other day; this late afternoon, as I enter for the party,  they're still happily foraging on the ground at Richard and Joyce's ranch - this is only one part of the group of over 50 geese, I'd estimate.  Later, of course, they'll lift off and circle one of the many ponds to safely pass the night away from coyotes, etc.

This is an unrefined shot from Richard and Joyce's deck as the sun lowers and warms the hills after dinner.  Such beauty.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's Rainy - This Must Be Oregon

I awaken to the pitter patter of a light rain on the roof; that, along with the sound of the water flowing over the rocks in the little stream next to my bedroom window are enough to decide to enjoy my coffee - hazelnut-flavored in honor of Oregon - and stick inside until it clears up a bit.

Not the same desire in Lincoln's mind!  He's scampering out as soon as Mom says it's okay.  He truly enjoys lying under the rig and watching the world go by.  It appears that if I 'introduce' him to a new spot (yard) while on the leash, he can then find his way back home without any trouble when he goes out.  I hope I'm not being under-cautious but he does love being in the great outdoors.

Oh, I stopped writing for a moment because my granddaughter, Addison, called from Colorado Springs, where she's teaching Fourth Grade in the Teach For America program.  What an ambitious young lady; she's loving her first profession after graduation from Loyola Marymount in May.  This young woman is going to go far; I just know it.  She has such an appreciation for life, a true adventurous spirit and energy and enthusiasm that know no bounds.

Here's an adorable, and a little out of focus (a picture of a picture) photo of Addison, age 8 and younger sister, Holland, age 6, holding the twins, Malia and Samantha, age about 4 months in Summer 2000.  Check out Holland's shoes; they're Aunt Alice's.

And, here's Addison (right) at brunch in Antigua, Guatemala while visiting me and meeting new friends, from L to R:  Ana (my teacher at AntigueƱa Academia), Maureen's friend, age 16, Maureen (Guatemala friend from Minnesota), Katy, age 20, Ana's daughter and Addison, age 20.  The entire conversation was in Spanish, at which Addison is proficient.

Back to today's goals (I use the term loosely!):
*Work on my Adobe Elements 11 application and use - still need to tweak the look of this blog.
*Work on my 1Password application (an application that generates a secure ID and password and stores them in a virtual vault) - enter log in information for highly visited accounts needing password protection.  I don't know about others but I have so many different passwords I have to maintain a (Excel) spreadsheet, that's password protected, to try to keep up with them all.

I emailed Harry and David, headquartered in Medford, Oregon, about 20 miles from here and asked to participate in a tour of their kitchens tomorrow in the late morning.  I love lots of their products and have given them for gifts, you know, for the person who has everything, for years.  I just may have to buy some Moose Munch or Baklava or  Riviera Pears or ??? to bring back to Floribunda.  I'm also going to stop at Home Depot in Medford to buy some unglazed ceramic tiles to place in my gas oven to help prevent over-browning when I bake cakes, casseroles and the like.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ashland Saturday ..... Reading, Marionberries and Spaghetti

Today I wake up early, 5:40 to be exact.  I like it when that happens and I feel well rested.  I just can't rave enough about the relaxing effect that babbling brook outside my open bedroom window has on me.  The day starts with a good dose of the novel I'm currently reading 'book style.'  I say that because I always have more than one 'book' going at a time:  one non-fiction, one fiction that I read and at least one that I'm listening to (could be fiction or non).  I've been subscribing to for over ten years and have more than 600 books in my audible library.  I love listening while driving, knitting, exercising, cooking, or just sitting and listening.

We're really getting into this life-style, the kids and me.  Glenyan RV Park is one busy park; although it appears that all campers are pretty used to camping, respect others' privacy and monitor their pets, etc.  There are lots of permanent residents and extended-stay folks, along with a hefty number of one-nighters.  My site is nestled in a group of pine trees (I believe in an earlier blog I mistakenly said redwood trees - that's the Marin County, CA in me!  Big trees - must be redwoods).  But there are some hunkin' pines; I noticed one this evening with very interesting looking bark on the 50 foot high trunk; I'm going to try to remember to take a pic tomorrow.

 I have loved to cook all my life, having had wonderful mentors, and am so enjoying the fact that I now have the time to actually make it my project of the day if I care to.  After my dose of fiction I casually clean up and get dressed and head into town to have coffee and conversation with a few new acquaintances for an hour or so.  Then I stop at a bakery called "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" and buy a two-serving Marionberry Pie with a graham flour crust and streusel topping - for dessert later today.  If you haven't ever had Marionberries, they're divine ....  They're a subspecies of blackberry that was developed by the USDA and Oregon state University, and is very hardy here in Oregon, accounting for over 50% of the blackberries grown in this State.

One more chore to do before I begin cooking - and eating - this morning.  I park Petunia in an adjacent spot and batten down the hatches so I can drive Floribunda to the dump station.  I'm still not completely comfortable with my black and gray water lights inside the coach.  I don't think the tanks are completely full, but they're reading 'full' so I drive the rig to the front of the camp and do the duty.  I have one of those sprayers to 'clean' the black holding tank, but when I'm completely finished with dumping, filling, dumping again, spraying and dumping again, the console still registers 3/4 full.  Does anybody know of something to dissolve gunk in the black water tank?  The gray water tank registers empty after the dumping process.  I really do suspect that the black water tank is empty too.

Enough of that.

I return indoors and make a nice pot of spaghetti sauce (or 'gravy,' as my girlfriend's Italian mother calls it), one serving for today's repast and three for the freezer for later.

Not a magazine-quality presentation, but after simmering all, including beef, onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and spices for about 6 hours, it's pretty yummy.  I ate one serving and followed it with half of the Marionberry pie - good good good.  I make individual freezer bags of vermicelli and San Francisco sour dough bread to complete the project - and voila!  One meal for today and three meals ready for future good eats.  I like to make enough so that I can have yummy meals even when there's no time to cook.  I also have three meals of pork chops in mustard-cream sauce with rice pilaf that I prepared earlier this week.  I have developed the habit of eating my big meal of the day at what we call "lunch time;" it's the time of the day when I'm most hungry and I think it might be better for me too.  In Guatemala it's called "almuerzo;" I ate 'dinner' then returned to school for two more hours of Spanish lessons.

And tonight it's blog time and soon I'll be back to that novel, "Those Who Save Us," by Jenna Blum,  a professor at Boston University.  Happy Saturday all.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Morning ... Thoughts of Yesterday ... Ashland

What a treat to wake this morning and look at the outdoor thermometer:  59F.  I awaken with my three traveling partners snuggled up on the bed, all continuing to doze peacefully in the coolness of an Oregon morning.

Yesterday, Lincoln comes to me and appears to be saying, "Look Mom, I'll stick around if you'll just let me go outside."  So I do and he does - stick around, that is.  He ventures out several times during the day and does (sometimes) return when I call, "Lincoln, come."  It's a low-key day, talking with neighbors, reading, writing, house-keeping - very little of that.

I have a nice "dinner" in the mid-afternoon; is that "Linner" or "Dunch"?  I'm not sure which but I enjoy eating a dinner-type meal during the day 'cause I'm hungrier then.  I tend to cook in little batches and freezing or refrigerating leftovers for later.  When I prepare three or four main courses, I can vary them with veggies and such to enjoy on the days when it's inconvenient to cook, or when I just don't feel like it!

Later I prepare to go to the Library in town, about 4 miles from Glenyan, and arrive just in time for the beginning of C.C. Leigh's introduction to her workshop, called "The Art of Inseeing."  The Library is an attractive building that appears to be well-utilized by the community; I see on the schedule of meetings that there are 5 different groups meeting at the same time as our meeting; I'm not sure what any of the groups are because on the schedule they're identified by initials only.  Oh, yes, I do recogize Al-Anon.

So, C.C. starts the Introduction with a short description of what the Workshop will be about, defining terms like:  inseeing, waking down, mutuality, compassionate presence.  In short layman's terms:  this is a movement/ program to help one move into a state of presence and fulfillment in this life and this body.  It would certainly be called a 'spiritual movement,' but is not aligned with any Eastern or Western philosophy.  It's more like recognizing and healing inner negative 'voices' without fixing or forcing them; as written in the flyer:  "Its radically gentle approach is very supportive of divinely human awakening and embodiment."

Because I am so interested in World's religions and the effect their beliefs have on the evolution and ecology of the World, I like taking the opportunity to learn of concepts and beliefs other than my own.  I come back to Floribunda this evening with a couple more tools for understanding myself, and the World, a little better.

On another note, as I walk around Ashland I notice how many people LOOK HEALTHY.  Working with  Kaiser has given me the opportunity to work with large groups of people from varied ethnic, cultural and economic walks of life; I've seen, in California, a negative shift.  For instance, I am saddened by the obesity I see in children; very young toddlers being diagnosed with Diabetes II, which used to be called, "Adult Onset Diabetes."  As I look at the community here, I see neither obese children nor adults.  Maybe it's all this fresh produce grown here and all the bicycle lanes.  I see bikes everywhere and people wearing hiking boots - must be for a reason!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ashland Life and Style ....

Oh, what a wonderful time I'm having here in Southern Oregon - Ashland to be precise.  I think I mentioned in an earlier blog that I'd connected with a couple I'd met a year ago in Guatemala.  Richard and Joyce are the founders of Legacy Foundation and were in Guatemala to work with some Mayan pueblos.  Go to the website for more information concerning the wonderful work they're doing all over the World.

I'd spent a wonderful time with them day before yesterday and was invited, again, for a dinner party last evening.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect:  warm, but not hot, and the mosquitos were somewhat somnolent, that is, I didn't get attacked like I frequently do (others did).  The dinner party participants were:  Richard and Joyce (retired from careers with the UN and Directors of the  Legacy Foundation), their son, Jeff, a musician, Ann, an Anthropology professor at SOU in Ashland, her husband, Keith, a retired professor of International Studies at SOU, Brian, a retired Ashland businessman, his wife, Diane, a retired professor of Social Services Research at San Jose State University, CA, Lacy, current dog extraordinaire, and me.

What an interesting group.  The conversation touched on many current-event subjects, including politics and religion, travel stories and adventures, families, food (which was fabulous), music and lots more.  Joyce and Richard are the consummate hosts making us all comfortable and happy; we ate outside on one of their decks .... here are a few pix I took when I arrived while it was still light ...

 Lacy inspecting the property and making herself right at home - while we were having cocktails on this lower deck, a huge gaggle of Canadian geese, maybe about 50, circled above and landed in the pond you see here.  There, after a few quacking conversations, they settled for the night, heads tucked under wings - such a beauteous sight
A grape arbor over one deck

Another view from the same deck.  There's a hot tub located on this level with a slide into the swimming pool!

                             Dinner was delicious with perfect company - a sublime evening.

This morning I awoke to the sound of gentle raindrops on my roof.  I don't remember the last time I've been in the rain.  In my lifetime, I've complained about rain, but what a welcome wake up today!
After some coffee and Internet I took Lacy out for a walk - she slept in until ten-ish after her social evening.  On one of the grassy areas in the RV park we met Tucker, a Miniature American Shepherd, a recently recognized breed by the American Kennel Club.  He has the same confirmation as the Australian Shepherd, just smaller.  A lovely dog with whom Lacy 'bonded' immediately.  His 'mom' C.C. and I got into a great conversation, during which she invited me to go to the Introduction this evening of a work shop, The Art of Inseeing, she's giving this weekend in Ashland.  I accepted and will attend at 7 tonight in the Ashland Public Library; after the introduction I hope to be able to explain what the workshop is about and how it might fit into my life.  C.C. is a full-time RVer who's travelled around the US for about the last two years; I'm sure she has lots of words of wisdom.  She's parked in her Winnebago a couple of sites from mine; hopefully we'll visit more.

 Tucker is four, an older man for three-year old Lacy

I'm sure he knows how handsome he is!

Making New Friends in Ashland

Wednesday morning ....
I noticed last evening that the couple two sites over from us were very well attended by a black cat so I decided to head over there this morning to see if they might have some secrets for keeping their kitty nearby, but outside at times.  Well, the kitty isn't theirs, but a long-term resident of the park, so no help there.  However, I had a delightful conversation with Vicky and Jeff who live outside Portland and have been coming to this park for 34 years!

And, like most campers I've met, they're very friendly and open and obviously enjoy meeting new people.  We talked for 20 minutes or so and will hopefully visit more later.  When I told them I'm headed up into Washington's Bellingham/San Juan Islands area, Vicky said they have friends who live in the area who I might like to meet.  She referred to her friend as someone "who's never met a stranger."  Talk about 'networking,' campers probably invented the term,

Jeff gave me his card ... he's a State Representative for Oregon (6th term in office) and a "retired cop." Defining the pay scale of State Representatives in Oregon, he described his work as "community service!"  Vicky's preparing decorations for her 50th High School reunion, so we also talked about how well our brains 'remember' our high school classmates, even after 50 years!

Wednesday 8/21 - temperature about 90 and a little heavy feeling with a few rain clouds in the sky along with the smokey haze reminding us that this is extreme fire season all over this beautiful State.

I'm off to downtown Ashland, camera and Lacy in tow, to check out Lithia Park and other interesting sights.  Upon first inspection a couple of days ago, Ashland is not only the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but also a 'college town,' home of Southern Oregon University, formerly called Southern Oregon College and  Southern Oregon State College, a public liberal arts institution, founded in 1926 with an enrollment of about 7,000.

Took about a two hour drive around the area in Petunia Smart Car with Lacy ... even drove north to Medford to check out Harry and David - what an operation - I hope to go back for a tour and pictures.

 Here's what Eleanor and Lincoln do while Lacy and I explore:

Eleanor perches

Lincoln hangs out

Driving into the town of Ashland I'd seen this old cemetery and decided to go back and take a look:

 Here's a close up of one headstone
I've always liked to visit cemeteries - no woo-hoo stuff, just an interest in history.  While living in Lourmarin, France several years ago I visited the cemetery there and, lo and behold, came upon the burial place of the great French philosopher, Albert Camus.
Also, when I was in middle school, back in the dark ages, my friends and I liked to visit the cemetery in Santa Clara, CA on our way to and from school.  Later I'll share some  funny stories about cemeteries and my military dad.

Medford is only about 10 miles north of Ashland, so we drove there just to look around a little and came upon an art studio (in Tenant a couple of miles south of Medford) with this "beginning of a sculpture" in the parking lot.  The sign on the building, "Tenant Art Studio."

The figures circling on this stabile are constructed of metal and some kind of treated paper-like 
material - a 'pattern.'  Unfortunately there's also some graffiti noticeable too.

 A close up of the center top fulcrum thing - being somewhat familiar with anatomy, I'd say those skeletons are pretty accurate!

We drove back into the downtown tourist area of Ashland; our intent for this foray was to take a walk in the famous Lithia Park.  Below is one entrance to the park - a beautiful walking bridge over another babbling brook ...

Although we rarely use it, I carries a leash for Lacy in case there's a leash law but, as we neared the bridge, I saw this sign .... no visit today; I'll return another day, without my side-kick ...

And, here is an entrance to Southern Oregon University, the school I spoke of earlier.  It's really a lovely campus sprawling over several blocks of Ashland.  And, Ashland truly has a college-town atmosphere:  bike lanes on almost every street, organic grocery stores, coffee shops, tattoo parlors (what town is without them these days?) and lots of student-moms and dads pushing perambulators (strollers) attired in the interesting costumes  of young intellectuals!  It reminds me of the UC Berkeley atmosphere - and I love it!