Friday, September 30, 2011

Banned Book Night at the Newport Public Library

Last night we went to the Newport Public Library for a banned book reading. This event is in support of national Book Banning Week (September 24 through October 1st) which is to support the freedom to read and have access to all books that provide unique and different perspectives.

This event was a small panel of local people that presented one book each that has been challenged, restricted or banned at some point in our countries history. Each panelist present context of the book to the audience and then read passages that were the target of the controversy. We were then able to ask questions and discuss why that particular book was banned or censored. The discussion and information was very interesting and enlightening. I was amazed to see the long list of books that have been restricted...a lot of classics. In fact, many of these books were required reading when we were in high school and that we fondly remember reading.

According to the American Library Association, here are some of the top classics that have been challenged or banned from libraries at some point.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell

Click on this link for the ALA’s complete list and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Open Mic Night – Café Mundo, Newport OR

Newport Oregon is known for its beautiful large bay, tons of ocean fishing, crabbing and of course the Rogue Brewery. One would not expect to find a funky eclectic restaurant that has an open mic night. Well, that’s what you will find at Café Mundo on Thursday nights (7pm-11pm). We have never been to an open mic night before so we gave it a try and weren’t disappointed.

Café Mundo is located in the historic Nye Beach area of Newport. This is a two to three block cluster of artsy shops, restaurants and pubs east of the bay near the ocean. The café is set back on the lot allowing for an outdoor seating area that contains benches and a gas fire pit. Many people were enjoying this interesting area having coffee, a drink, or waiting for seating inside. Café Mundo itself is an interesting medal A-frame structure with most the restaurant seating on the second floor and the open mic stage on the first floor directly as you walk in. The build is decorated with a wide collection of interesting art pieces which create the fun atmosphere.

As the picture shows, we had a bird’s eye view of the stage. The rules for performing were very simple – signup anytime during the night on a clipboard near the stage and you can perform for 15 minutes or 3-4 songs if you are a musician. The entire night is hosted by a local performer who started the night with her own songs. Our night consisted of several singer song writers performing their own material. We were hoping for an interpretive dance, comedian or poetry reading to fill out the mix of performers that would match the spirit of this wonderful place, but no such luck this time.

The menu contained a wide variety of choices. The chicken tacos and Caesar salad were freshly made and excellent. All the food we saw on other tables looked the same with generous portions. The food alone makes this a must stop restaurant…but the open mic night make this a night out on the town. Don’t miss it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Root Beer Floats at Rogue Brewery, Newport, Oregon

We have two quests (so far):
1. To find an awesome miniature gold course. (Any suggestions?)
2. To have the best root beer float.

When we ate at the Rogue Brewery a few days ago, we saw the root beer float on the menu and thought…….hmmmm….. could this be it? They brew their own root beer, the menu said it included whipped cream, the waitress said they were good………

So we went back………well, it wasn’t “it.” It was good, but not the “best,” so our quest continues.

Perhaps down the road……..

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Devil’s Punch Bowl SRA, Newport, Oregon

Along the Oregon coast there are many, many turn-outs, and we never pass-up the opportunity to take one and see the spectacular scenery.  Devil’s Punch Bowl State Natural Area is one such place, as water slams into the rocks and whooshes into the punchbowl, creating some incredible water displays.  There is a nice, paved path along the edge of the cliffs with picnic tables to sit and enjoy the ocean waves, watch surfers (yes, surfers in the cold Oregon waters) and enjoy the cormorants looking for their next meal.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean, South Beach, Oregon

We’ve had some wonderful weather while staying at South Beach, Oregon and took the opportunity to watch a few sunsets. Since the sky was clear (unusual for these parts), there wasn’t much color, but a clear sunset over the Pacific Ocean is always a treat. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rogue Brewery, Newport, Oregon

 One does get hungry (and thirsty) when meandering a town, so off we went to the Rogue Brewery.  Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t some quaint little place in the idle of nowhere, it’s a chain and we’ve been to the one in our home town many times, but as Brad stated, “This is the mother ship.”

If you go to the brewery, here’s the most important piece of information – go sit at the bar. Why? Because they come to your table with a small dram of beer for each person – just a sample, to wet your whistle! Now if you’re lucky like Brad, who has a wife who doesn’t like beer, then you get both samples! 

The food was very good and the beer (ice tea in Suzanne’s case) equally as good. The location can’t be beat, and the service was friendly and great. There are tours of the brewery if you’d like, and you do need to walk through the facilities to get to the restaurant and bar, so you’ll get a mini self-guided tour just by doing that alone.

Bottoms up!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Old Town Newport - Newport, Oregon

A great place to meander is the old town, which is sided on one side by the Pacific Ocean. There are many fish processing plants, lots of restaurants, shops, and sea lions!

Yes, sea lions! There are many rock outcroppings and docks for the sea lions to relax and sunbathe. This dock in particular has a cage around it so if/when a hurt sea lion is found in this particular dock, the officials from the aquarium and the Hartfield Marine Science Center come, capture the hurt sea lion safely by lowering the door, take her/him to their facility for medial treatment, and then returned to the wild once healed. Pretty neat!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Newport, Oregon

Newport, Oregon has a lot of great things to do and see. There’s the fabulous Oregon Coast Aquarium (once home to Keiko the Killer Whale), the Hatfield Marine Science Center, lighthouses, Agate Beach and Historic Nye Beach, and of course, places to eat!  We’ve been to many of these before and will do some again – there’s lots to do in this part of the wonderful Oregon coast!  Stay tuned………….

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Oregon Coast, South Beach, Oregon

Did you know that almost the entire expanse of the Oregon Coast is public land? Except for a small area that is for the protection of Sea Lions (Sea Lion Caves), there are no areas off-limits, privately owner, or any of that crazy stuff you see in other states. It also amazingly beautiful, clean, and expansive. While hanging out at Whaler's Rest Resort, we've been walking the beach (with Zoey catching sticks) everyday.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Whaler’s Rest Resort, South Beach, Oregon


Whaler’s Rest Resort is a Thousand Trails/NACO park and we are here under RPI for a couple weeks. The location is great, just south of Newport and ¼ mile from the beach. At night we can hear the waves and it’s an easy walk to the beach everyday. The campground is pretty nice – all sites have 50-amp, full hook-ups, although non-Thousand Trail members cannot stay at the north side with more open sites (and thus better cell phone coverage). There are a couple club houses, some activities (mostly revolving around food), a decent store that rents movies for $1, and the staff if very friendly. The location is very good for exploring the surrounding area, as we plan to do in the time we’ll be here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

St.Vincent's Hospital, Portland, Oregon

So we’re jokingly calling this “St. V’s RV”(it rhymes) as the hospital has 8 RV sites, each with water and 50-amp electric.  It’s first come/first served, and free.  All you do is find your spot, go to the Information Desk to let them know you’re here, and get a permit. Tape it to your rig, and you’re all set.  Why are we here, you may be wondering. Well, the “personal business” we needed to take care of when we stayed at the RV Park of Portland (really in Tualatin) was surgery for Suzanne – major, but not life threatening.  This also explains why we’ve been laying pretty low for us – no hiking, biking, etc.. – and the lack of blog posts - as Suzanne needs to just hang out and recover. After a few days here for some post-operative appointments, we’ll head to the Oregon coast to hang out, continue recovery, hopefully get back to some excitement beyond sleeping, reading and eating, then we’ll be back at “St. V’s RV” in a month for another post-op appointment. Then, as planned, we’ll head on down south where the sun will be shining!

Gotta say – it’s great that hospitals offer RV spaces for patients and visiting families (there is even access to free hot showers inside the hospital). We’ve known people to use these before, never thought we’d be one of them (certainly at least not yet), but it’s nice to have one less thing to think about when health issues arise.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blue House Café, Vernonia, Oregon

Wow! We didn’t expect to find such a great and unique restaurant in Vernonia, but we did!  The Blue House Café is a Mediterranean Brewpub. We drove by last week and only saw the “Brewpub” part of the sign.  We went today into Vernonia looking for greasy burgers and fries, and thought we would find them at the “brewpub.” We were very pleasantly surprised to enjoy gyros (Suzanne had the chicken, Brad the lamb and beef) with great clove-embedded iced tea and a caramel-cappuccino pizzelle for dessert. The gyros were probably the best we have had ~ fresh, made with organic veggies, and well-portioned.   Service was equally great. There’s an indoor restaurant and covered, outdoor seating, where we sat with Zoey ( and enjoyed fellow lunchers, people walking by, and great food. If you like Mediterranean food and you’re in the area, this is the pace to go!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stub Stewart State Park, Oregon - an overview

Stub Stewart State Park, between Banks and Vernonia, is only 31 miles west of Portland and has more than 20 miles of trails which one can hike, bike, or ride a horse.

An overview of the park ~ upon entering the park, a Welcome Center is on the right, just before the two tent/RV campgrounds (Dairy Creek West is first, then Dairy Creek East). Just across (on the main road) from the Welcome Center is the Recycling Center – you can recycle glass, paper, plastic, cardboard, etc…).  A few more miles down the road on the left is the Hilltop Day-Use Area with picnic tables, an off-leash dog park, restrooms, and fabulous views of the coastal range. Further down the road, if one prefers to stay overnight in a cabin, is Mountain Dale Cabin Village with 12 one-room cabins, 3 two-room larger cabins, picnic tables and fire rings at every site, flush toilets & hot showers, and a meeting hall with a  kitchen. Continue to the end of the road, and you’ll find yourself at Hares Canyon Horse Camp.

Overall this state park is quite modern – all sites have 50 amps and are 50’ in length.  All area are wheelchair accessible and trails connect the two campgrounds, amphitheater, Welcome Station, other areas, and trails interconnect so you can take long or short walks/hikes/rides.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stub Stewart State Park, Oregon - campgrounds

This is the newest of Oregon’swonderful state parks, and definitely has some great things going for it.  Today we’ll write about the campgrounds, tomorrow, the rest of the park.

Stub Stewart has two campgrounds for tenters or RV’ers ~ 78 full hook-up sites (50 ap, 50 ft sites), all ADA compliant with picnic tables and fire rings.  There 78 sites are separated into two areas: Dairy Creek Camp West has 43 sites and is a bit more treed, and Dairy Creek Camp East has 35 sites and is much more open (you can practically see every site from any site). Each camping area has flush toilets and free hot showers (heated via solar panels).

Along with the two tent/RV campgrounds, there is Brooke Creek Hike-in Camp (for those backpacking/biking the Banks-Vernonia Trail).  There are 23 primitive sites with picnic tables, two community areas with fire rings, and vault toilets.  It’s about ¼ mile walk to the Dairy Creek Camps (mentioned above) for flush toilets and free hot showers.

Finally, there is the Hares Canyon Horse Camp with 14 full hook-up sites with 4-stall horse corrals. As with the Dairy Creek Camps, each site has 50-amps, a picnic table and fire ring. There are flush toilets and free hot showers, as well as a manure bin (for the horses),

Overall the camping areas are maintained very well – clean and well-kept.

Monday, September 5, 2011

RV Park of Portland, Tualatin, Oregon


RV Park of Portland is actually in Tualatin, about 20 minutes from the city of Portland.
We’ve actually been here a few days now, as we’ve had some personal business in the Tualatin area, and the location of this RV park is perfect.

The RV Park is very nice and very well maintained. Every site has green grass, a nice large shade tree, a clean picnic table, full hook-ups, free basic cable and free WiFi. The staff has been very friendly and welcoming as well. They allow dogs, but there are plenty of signs stating “no peep, no poop” in a variety of areas. The Tualatin River borders the back-end of the park, and there is a two-mile nature trail adjacent to the RV Park.

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