It’s Monday and Where in the Heck am I…. Blogging Plans for 2020

Actually, I am in Bandon, Oregon, one of my favorite towns on the Oregon Coast. I would like you to meet Natasha, the sea trash turtle. The Washed Ashore Organization is dedicated to cleaning up our oceans and creates whimsical creatures out of trash its volunteers clean up along the shoreline.

I dropped Peggy at the airport in Medford on Friday. She’s off to spend a couple of weeks in Virginia on grandkid duty while their parents make a quick escape to Mexico. “Please come Mom,” Tasha had requested while Clay had sent her first-class tickets. Hard to ignore that appeal. I was invited as well, but having just spent Christmas and New Year’s back east, I opted for a solo trip in Quivera the RV over to the Oregon Coast with plans for making my way south to Redwood National Park in Northern California. 

That’s what I am up to now as I put this post together. I decided what better time to write about our coming travel/blogging plans for the year than when I am out traveling. I’ve just spent the past three days in the small coastal town of Bandon, which has some of the most impressive rock formations on the Oregon Coast. They make up several of the photos for today’s blog. 

Travel-wise, we have a full year planned. 2020 started with our trip home on Amtrak from Washington DC, which I’ve already blogged about. This is trip number two. (Although it’s sans-Peggy, I’m counting it.) In late March, we are taking off for a 16-day cruise focusing on the Panama Canal. Peggy lived down there in 70’s for a while in her life before Curt. It is where Tasha was born. She has been wanting to get back there for a very long time. When I mentioned the possibility of the cruise, she jumped on it. Peggy’s sister Jane and her husband Jim are going along. In addition to Panama, we’ll be making stops in Costa Rica, Columbia, Nicaragua and Mexico. 

We plan to kick off our backpacking season with a 40-mile trip down the Rogue River trail. It is beautiful in spring and makes an ideal beginning of the season hike. Peggy turns 70 this year and wants to make sure she celebrates properly. She also wants to explore more of the Pacific Crest trail through Oregon this summer as well. I’ll plan a 70-mile trip to go along with her years and my 77. We also have a 7-day kayak trip planned. 

The biggie in celebrating her 70th, however, is a 7-day Rhine River Cruise from Amsterdam to Bern. We’ve invited our children and grandchildren along and, needless to say, they are excited. We will be in the middle of our trip when Peggy has her birthday on July 5th. Afterward, we will pop over to France to spend several days with Peg’s brother John and his wife, Frances. 

We have tentative plans to return to Burning Man this fall. That, of course, depends on our ability to get tickets in the BM lottery, never a sure thing. Throw in the fact that we will be in the middle of the Panama Canal with iffy internet connections when the lottery takes place, I am not optimistic. 

Peggy is off on another cruise in September, this time with her sister Jane from San Francisco up to Victoria, BC, a girls’ trip. I’ll take advantage of it to drive Quivera south down through Santa Cruz, Monterrey, Carmel and Big Sur. I love that area and have been escaping down there since the 60s and 70s, when I used to camp out along the road in my VW van. It’s as close as I ever got to being a hippie.

Quivera and I are staying at the Bandon Wayside Motel plus RV Campground in Bandon. It’s a small but charming, beautifully kept up property that dates back to 1949. If you look to the left, you will see a small sign featuring a 60s-type VW Van.
A close up. Made me feel right at home. I was never a surfer, but I sure identified with the peace concept! Still do, as hard as it is in this era of nation-states rattling nuclear weapons.
A photo of the motel.
And this is Nicole, the co-owner of motel and RV campground along with her partner David. She’s an absolute bundle of energy and friendliness. If it weren’t for the all of the hard work she puts into the place, I’d be a little bit suspicious that she has some modern-day hippie in her. She told me “David and I decided to marry the motel instead of each other.”

October will be time to jump in Quivera and do another month-long exploration of the Southwest. This time we want to include Death Valley NP, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Zion NP, Bryce NP, Capitol Reef NP, Canyonlands NP, and Arches NP. (This may be news to Peggy, grin.) After that we will be traveling east to spend the holidays with our kids. We are contemplating using Amtrak again, following different routes. Does that sound like enough for the year? Do you think I will have adequate material to blog about? Heck, I still have lots from last year? I never seem to catch up. Do you? And then there is the book I am writing…

I’ll conclude with a note of parental pride, if I may. Our son Tony just received the Coast Guard’s second highest award for coordinating the massive rescue effort the Coast Guard undertook in the Bahamas during Hurricane Dorian. The storm was a devastating category five hurricane with record-setting winds of up 175 mph. He and his fellow Coast Guard helicopter pilots spent 5-days more or less without sleep on the ground and up in the very dangerous air. The Commander of the Coast Guard and the Secretary of Homeland Security awarded Tony with the medal. 

As I mentioned, Bandon has some very impressive rocks or sea stacks. It was low tide and I did a long beach walk. The day was beautifully clear but cold! The ocean was showing off with some very impressive waves.
I was hiking toward the mid afternoon sun, which can be challenging for photos. So I decided to go with it rather than fight it. From here, it looked like the two rocks might be holding a conversation.
Up closer, the rocks revealed colorful turquoise water left behind by the receding tide and rippled by the cold breeze.
Speaking of backlit, the sun absolutely robbed this photo of all color. That’s driftwood on the beach, left behind by recent storms. I quickly named the piece on the left Bugs Bunny to give the strange scene a sense of familiarity. The gate-like structure on the left suggests a portal into some mysterious realm. Or maybe I was already there. Did you just see the driftwood moving?
Turning around toward the end of my hike, the sun was more cooperative. I may have found Big Foot. Check out the toes!
Another perspective of the Big Foot.
I liked the way this driftwood seem to flow into the sea stack.
I didn’t capture this two inch deep, two foot wide stream flowing into the ocean quite the way I wanted to, but still I found it interesting.
If you hang out with me much on this blog, you know I have a thing for dead trees, and that includes driftwood. The beach at Bandon was full of it.
This fellow, looking out to sea was also licking his lips. I know, I know; it’s a stretch. BTW, does the orange hairdo seem a bit familiar.
Now here is a hunk of wood. Many of the pieces of driftwood on the beach were old stumps left behind by logging operations and eventually washed out to sea.
Here’s another one with its logging history on display for the world to see, or at least for anyone walking the beach in Bandon.
When you are surrounded by scenic vistas, it’s hard to look down sometimes. Still beauty is everywhere, including in this small rock. And check out the patters in the sand.
And here’s another.
I thought his rock was the most interesting, given the sun, shadows, and hole.
And one should never ignore the blown spume. I watched a little girl gleefully chase a large piece across the sand. She caught it and grabbed it. Of course in crushed into nothing. “Grandpa!” she yelled.
I’ll close today with a few photos I took while wandering around Bandon’s Old Town. I loved this magnificent octopus.
It had one of those faces that only its mother could love.
I found this beautiful octopus mural nearby.
This seahorse sculpture with its stern face also caught my attention.
I’ll close the post the way I started with a photo of one of Washed Ashore’s marvelous creations made out of beach trash. Meet Henry. I wouldn’t suggest sticking your hand in his mouth. Henry seems like he has an attitude.

NEXT POST: It will be time for my Wednesday Photograph Essay. This time it will be mainly flowers I photographed along the American River Parkway in Sacramento, California.

31 thoughts on “It’s Monday and Where in the Heck am I…. Blogging Plans for 2020

  1. A lot of excitement going on in your lives!! I love the plans for Peggy’s birthday (I turn 70 as well this year, but no plans as yet). I don’t know why anyone still vacations in Mexico, but I’m sure they will have a great time.
    I sure hope you get tickets for Burning Man – you know I go nuts over those pictures too!
    Last – BUT – certainly NOT least – please give my heartiest Congratulations to Tony on his award!! I’m thrilled he received recognition for that search; such harrowing duty!

    • Peggy has always been into birthdays in a big way, G. I’d be out on my tail if I ever forgot one. 🙂 The kids have a special place they return to in Mexico every year where they know the locals and have a wonderful time.
      We’ll see on Burning Man! Both of us would like to go again.
      And I will pass your kind words on to Tony. Much appreciated. –Curt

  2. Impressive views by the ocean, Curt! The weather was nasty when I was in Oregon (several years ago), and haven’t been able to have good pictures. I still get nostalgic now and then when I see beautiful photos🙂
    Your 2020 plans sounds fantastic, not a dull moment LOL
    Congrats for Tony, and for the proud dad!

    • It can indeed get nasty! I’ve been lucky this time. I am not even looking at a weather forecast out of fear I might jinx it. 🙂
      Yep, we have a busy year. Now we’ll see how much of it we actually accomplish.
      Thanks, Christie. –Curt

  3. You are having way too much fun (Never a surfer? wouldn’t have guessed that – it’s not too late!…oh OK, listening to the music is acceptable)
    Really jealous of the RV-ish trip – seems to be the best way to enjoy travels
    Can’t wait to follow along all your wanderings for 2020

    • Nope, never a surfer. But I have decided that photographers and surfers have one thing in common. We are always waiting for the big wave. Of course, surfers want to ride it and we want to see it crashing against the rocks. Slightly different objectives.:)
      I loved that old VW camper. Never pictured myself as an RVer. When I persuaded Peggy that we needed to take a year off and wander I thought of another VW Camper. She insisted on an upgrade! That’s how we ended up with out 22 foot RV, Quivera. Never been sorry. Sitting here now in my comfy chair on the coast listening to Willie, and answering comments. In awhile I will go for a walk on the beach and then cook up a light dinner. Doesn’t get much better. Glad you will be along on our adventures this year! –Curt

  4. A full year, great photos and well done Tony.
    This year we are going on our first ever cruise. Scottish Isles, Faroe Isles and Iceland. We have always said that we wouldn’t do cruising so we will have to see how we get on!

  5. That’s a seriously active travel year. You got some nice shots at Bandon. When we were at the main beach the wind was blowing so hard it was uncomfortable, so we didn’t go far. Guess we’ll have to go back… 😉

  6. On Tue., 11 Feb. 2020, 3:16 am Wandering through Time and Place, wrote:

    > Curt Mekemson posted: ” Actually, I am in Bandon, Oregon, one of my > favorite towns on the Oregon Coast. I would like you to meet Natasha, the > sea trash turtle. The Washed Ashore Organization is dedicated to cleaning > up our oceans and creates whimsical creatures out of trash its” >

  7. The octopus sculpture and mural are gorgeous! Love those sea photos of sea stacks, particularly the rocks in conversation. My thoughts when seeing the beach full of driftwood in silhouette is that you accidentally came up behind a beach yoga class. I think I recognize some of those poses. I hadn’t heard of the Washed Ashore Organization and I think it’s a wonderful idea.

    Congratulations to Tony and to you for having such talented offspring.

    • If you haven’t made it as far south as Bandon, Crystal, you really should go there. It’s a special little town (and has a great book store). But the sea stacks are what bring me back. Fortunately, it is a relatively short drive over there for us. Washed Ashore has done a fantastic job of raising awareness on how we are trashing our oceans. And we are quite fortunate to have the kids and grandkids we have. –Curt
      PS Laughed about the driftwood Yoga class.

      • I’m so glad you liked my yoga thought!! ha ha. Yes, I’ve been to Bandon a few times and I love it. I was once sitting on a dock when a man and his son came up to go fishing. They taught me how to catch these tiny fish using only the shiny hooks – they tied four of them in a row on the line. I sat there fishing with them for an hour, dropping the line in, pulling it out and shaking the tiny fish into a bucket. I’ll never forget that memory.

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