Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Blessings from Baker City, Oregon

View through a frosted window hole of the Elkhorns
from Ginger's artroom window. 
December 3, 2010

            As I take pen to paper, it appears we have a good chance for a white Christmas!  It’s about 10 degrees outside, we had -7° the day before Thanksgiving, and we have about 6” of snow on the ground.  I went snowshoeing last week and our local ski hill opened yesterday.  Winter is here!
Jed ponders the volleyball score. 
            We are eagerly looking forward to many trips to the Boise airport in the next month as we gather family together for the holidays. 
            Jed is beginning the analysis and writing phase of his doctoral thesis through New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM.  He is filming the moon, when weather permits, to see if he can spot objects striking it.  That will be the research upon which his thesis is based.  He is still teaching labs, but has no more classes to take!  He is very active on a club volleyball team through the college.  His projected finish is May of 2012, and then the search for a professorship at a small college in the Northwest will commence!  
Luke takes off from Boise airport
for a year of YAV service.
            Luke is serving as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) through the Presbyterian Church.  He is living in Tucson, Arizona, with four other YAVs.  Thank you all for your generosity during his fundraising.  He is working with an organization that helps with home repairs for seniors and low income households (CHRPA).  He is loving it!  He bikes nine miles to work, fixes roofs, digs ditches, jackhammers walls, and does whatever else is required before biking home.  Needless to say, he’s tired when he gets home!  The YAVs have one or two weekend activities and retreats during the month, so he isn’t bored.  Jed and Luke spent Thanksgiving with my mom and Randy’s family before heading to Phoenix for their annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra fix.  Both will be home for Christmas, although Luke will only be here for five days. 
With Grandma Rembold after services for Grandpa.
            You may have noticed that I only mentioned my mom was at Randy’s.  After years of declining health, my dad passed in June.  With the help of hospice, his passing was peaceful.  He has left a huge hole in our hearts that we are trying to fill with great memories.  Mom is doing well.  She is living in their apartment in Albuquerque, with visits from Ran’s family and Jed.  She is set up for email and her address is  We plan on visiting her at spring break and then bringing her to Baker in June and July….when it’s warm! 
            We are excited to have Ginger’s mom with us again at Christmas.  She continues to enjoy her church and little coastal town of Bandon, Oregon. 
Near Hyder, AK
            Ging and I continue to teach, she in middle school art and computers, while I enjoy my third graders.  We are doing our research on retirement options with the idea of maybe this year, but if not, definitely next year.  There are places to visit and volunteer opportunities we want to pursue!  We love our small town of Baker City and its access to God’s creation.  I am out hiking or snowshoeing most weekends, and Ginger is busy with art and church activities.  We try to make a point of running away for one weekend a month to reconnect and explore!  This summer we were on the coast, spent a couple weeks driving to and visiting our “nieces” and friends, the Swansons, in Fairbanks, Alaska, and then traveled back to Greenville for dad’s service. The latter was a beautiful time for family and memories.  In between the trips we squeezed in multiple weddings!  Jed was an attendant in 3 and Luke officiated 2! 
Rev Al's Sermon 12-5-2010
            One art project that has driven Ging all year started as a fluke on a Sunday last spring, when a visual picture of the sermon came to mind.  Now, over 100 drawings later, she is amassing quite a collection of "sermon drawings".  A bible study of Acts spurred a whole series on that book of the Bible.  She's going to do something with them eventually, but in the meantime we'll share the most recent Christmas picture.  
            We are happy! 
            We are reminded, once again, that God came to earth in the form of a tiny baby to bring love and change.    Christmas blessings to all.  Please keep in touch! 
            PS.  It's not Rick's fault the blog is days later than his original takes me awhile to take his writing and put it all into the computer!  :)
Family picture enroute home from coast in June - Ginger's favorite spot on Mt. Hood   (Blog of our travels this past year)    (Luke's Year as a YAV in Tucson)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crystal Crane November Escape

Entry sign to Hot Springs south of Burns.  

Crystal Crane Hot Springs – Malheur Wildlife Refuge
November 11 – 13, 2010

Thursday, November 11 – Veteran’s Day!

We have a four day weekend due to a break day awarded after Thursday’s Veteran’s Day.  Guess the school district figured no one would show up anyway on Friday!  So Rick and I have decided to explore a part of Oregon new to us: south of Burns and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.  We have booked two nights in the “rustic cabins” at Crystal Crane Hot Springs, about 28 miles south of Burns! 

On our way at 9 with scattered clouds and beautiful sunshine.  The weather looks like it is going to cooperate totally for our get away!  Over the mountains (sadly the larch are past their golden beauty and into a brown stage) with skiffs of snow alongside the road much of the way due to the recent storms.  We spied the pyramid peak of Strawberry Mountain poking up above some clouds as we dropped down into Prairie City.  Our last time through PC we remembered receiving the phone call from Randy that Pop was not improving and nearing the end as we traveled to Mom’s on the coast.  This time I was in the middle of a series of text messages with Luke, who was visiting the Alamo in San Antonio at the time!  Much better conversation!

Through John Day where we stop for a sandwich at the Subway and south to Burns.  Just a beautiful drive over the high plains near Seneca and then down the Silvies River into Burns.  After picking up a few forgotten groceries at the Safeway, we parked downtown and wandered a few shops.  Much was closed for the holiday, including a promising Thai Restaurant!  So we decided to just head on down to the hot springs and eat the dinner of choice:  crab, bread, cheese, and wine! 

We find Crystal Crane Hot Springs, about 4 miles west of Crane, and are situated in Cabin D (furthest from the communal bathroom! L)   It is also the one decorated in Victorian flowers!  So much for the hoped for western room.  Oh well.  The room is small – queen bed, big chair, heater, and small table and light.  We shall make it work just fine!  Besides the price is right ($45 a night). 

Rick was ready for a nap (he is fighting the sore throat today!) and I began to read a Hardy Boys mystery I found in the common room.  I haven’t read a HB in over 30 years!  Hour or two later, we decide to EAT!  A little more reading time after dinner and then it is time to check out the hot springs!

The hot springs have two inflow spots – one that trickles down through the rocks at a VERY hot  180 degrees and another pipe that pours into the pond at a bit cooler temp.  The night is cool, however, (under 30 degrees) so the water cools down quickly.  The pond is advertised at around 88 to 90 degrees overall – much cooler than I anticipated.   Another group is near the large inflow, so we use a smaller one that trickles in VERY hot.  We keep a constant swirling of our arms to cool off the water, but also to keep constant hot water heating us up!  Eventually I swim 3-4 laps across the pond to get a little exercise!  Showers in the two separate little stalls (ONLY two available)  and then back to the room.  Read and relax until 10 when my eyes are struggling.  I finished the HB earlier and have read the entire Reader’s Digest I brought as well.  Rick is working on a western novel he brought.  Nothing too heavy for either of us.  Tomorrow I will start the book I brought with me. 

Friday, November 12: 
View from our cabin window as sun rising behind pond. 
I get up at 6:45 to use the bathroom and wander around taking some sunrise pictures and pond shots.  It is brisk and beautiful outside.  I find a few birds on the lower pond (which is considerably cooler) and watch a few flocks swarm and dart around in the sky.  It is a gorgeous morning.  Inside to begin reading my book while Rick sleeps until 9:15!  At 9 am I give up and pull out some breakfast.  I’m hungry!!!

We are on our way south by 10:15 – heading to Crane just a few miles away.  Rick wants to find the store and get some cold medicine just to guarantee a good nice tonight. We drive into Crane proper, find the boarding school, one of only two public high school boarding schools in the country, but no store.  Back out on the main road and quickly see the Crane store, café, RV park, gas station, you name it!   They have drugs! 

Down to Princeton Junction and then west on a gravel road that will take us across to the Malheur Wildlife Area.  This isn’t exactly the main road into the Visitor Center, but it will get us there in a more direct way from Crane!  You can’t see the lake from the road except in just a few places.  The lake is fairly low at this time of the year – the summer has taken its toll. 

Main pond in front of Wildlife Refuge Headquarters
We arrive at the Malheur Wildlife Area – marked by a tall former fire tower that in the fall is covered with turkey vultures roosting!  The buildings are roofed with multicolor Spanish tiles which look really neat.  Cottonwood trees and a small pond – the main showcase for the visitor center bird viewing completes the center.  A free and always open museum is filled with information and over 200 stuffed birds on display.  The gift shop and center itself was closed for the Veteran’s Day weekend.    

We can see the Malheur Lake up north of the center in the distance.  The skies are clearing or filled with fluffy clouds.  So pretty, but we only spy a few birds in the area.  It really is too late in the season to do much birding.  Maybe we shall come back in the spring when the place is teeming with action! 

All day long the views were far reaching and the sky huge! 
From the Wildlife Refuge we pass the Sodhouse (originally part of the Glenn-French Cattle Empire) and out to Route 205, the main North-South route from Burns down to Fields and on to the Nevada border.  We head north briefly to see the area called The Narrows, but this basin and plateau are so huge and flat, it is hard to tell the difference in where the water shifts.  There is no sign of Mud Lake – I think it is all fields right now.  Harney Lake is further to the west – all still part of the wildlife refuge. 
View north from Buena Vista overlook.  

We backtrack slightly to the south and then head on down to our next stop – Buena Vista ponds.  We are amazed at the variations in the landscape.  I guess we thought the whole area was just flat, but we wind in and around rimrock and canyons and little gulches.  Always thick sagebrush and grassland and lava rock everywhere! 

Buena Vista is another set of ponds often occupied in the spring and summer with birds.  Right now the ponds are in a semi-dry state.  Interesting signs tell the story of how managed wetlands are more productive and better for the birds.  Hence, the draw down of the water, the cattle grazing nearby, etc.  Pretty fascinating. 

Frenchglen Hotel
It is about another 18 miles down to Frenchglen and the famous French Glenn Hotel.  The town has a small school, an even smaller post office spot, a few houses, and the hotel.  Seemed like everywhere was closed, including the hotel.  We had hoped to maybe catch their 11:30 to 1:30 lunch service, but instead ate from the stuff in the car at the little public park next to the hotel.  My only other disappointment was that the clouds have totally socked the Steens Mountain in.  We can see a little snow at the lowest edge and nothing up above.  Maybe another time! 

We head north again from Frenchglen and up to the Diamond cutoff.  This route should take us eventually back up to Princeton Junction just south of Crane.  We are making a nice circular trip!  We soon realize we also missed the turnoff to the Lavabeds area which goes through Diamond Craters.  Turn around. 

The next 20 miles are definitely through a volcanic playground of basalt, lava flows, and maar holes (they look like individual hot tubs in the desert!)  We didn’t stop at any of the stops because I didn’t get the brochure until AFTER we had driven through!  It was pretty neat to look at, however!  You could see the fold lines of the aa flows in several places. 

The Round Barn has a new visitor center built in recent years, probably by the Jenkins family who owns the area and runs historic tours on the side.  Dick Jenkins (70’s?) was running the upscale gift shop and museum.  He was a long time friend of the Kirkpatrick family and we visited for some time about Bill Kirkpatrick, who hunted in this region for over 50 years in a row.  I also bought a new Xmas puzzle which was pretty cool. 

Peter French's Round Barn
Rick and I then drove over the Round Barn itself, a 100 year old relic (restored in several places) from the Peter French era and the cattle empire.  He built the barn to train the horses in the winter time.  It really was awesome inside with HUGE timbers and old rock walls in the inner part.  History says his barn was “ahead of his time” in design. 

From the barn, we continue north past vast fields of golden grassland, more rimrock, and buttes and canyons.  Eventually we rejoin our morning route and return to Crane Hot Springs.  The skies have actually cleared off more and clouds are hard to find!  It will be another cold clear night! 

We relax for a short bit and then head out to the pond for a dip in the warm water.  The place is busier than yesterday – more in the RV part, although the rest of the cabins appear empty.  Maybe just some groups using the springs on a day pass too.  We are in the pond when the sun goes down and watch the purple glow appear on the eastern ridges opposite, all through the misty steam of the water.  Have to wait abit at the end to get one of the showers – one of the downsides to this spot!

Back to cabin to finish off the crab for dinner, plus more cheese, bread, and vino!  A relaxing evening reading and not much more.  I finish a second book!  I think Rick finishes one as well. 

We really should start checking into brands of mattresses when we sleep really well in a place.  This bed was good.  Sound night’s sleep! 

Saturday, November 13:

Rising sun on Saturday morning. 
I wake up at EXACTLY the same time as yesterday – 6:46 am.  Weird.  Up to do a few stretches and exercises, catch the sun rising at JUST the right moment, and do my Bible Study.  Rick is up at 7:45 or so, and we are on our way by 8:15.  We decided to eat OUT for breakfast and out diner of choice is the Crane Café, just 4 miles back up the road.  Rick orders the shortstack and gets two HUGE pancakes.  I decide to try oatmeal and fruit, and get a bowl of oatmeal that must be 20 oz in size!  Well over 2 cups worth!  Wow!  I can’t finish it!  My fruit is peaches, which taste good with the raisins and brown sugar.  More WW points for breakfast than I’ve had in a while, but we are eating out! 

The skies are cloudy, gray, and COLD this morning.  Rick had to scrape a little frost off the windows before we could leave.  But….we can see the Steens Mountain in the distance again! 

Enroute home by 9, stopping Burns long enough to pick up a little gas.  Both of us are fighting the sleepies the whole way home, but we make it safely around 12:30 pm.    

A fun get-away into some new territory.  We will definitely put it on a spring trip itinerary when the birds are more abundant! 

Click HERE to view more pictures from our trip.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Family Time in Yakima, Washington

     Rick and I take off Friday afternoon at 3pm bound for Yakima, Washington to meet up for the weekend with my Mom and sister Liz and husband Dave.  They were on the tail end of a week long vacation at a time share in Chelan.  Both my grandfather and my father had pastorates in the Yakima Valley and our plan was to spend some quality time in reminiscing!  
First Presby Yakima
   The weather is beautiful - sunny and clear fall day, warm during the day but with a bite at night.  The tamarack trees are beginning to turn yellow and we find the sumac turning red once we get up into the valley.  
    We arrive in Yakima a little past 6:30 ready for dinner!  The plan was to go to Olive Garden, just 8 blocks away.  We find it really crowded on this Friday night! So we walk a block away and have a very good meal at the Subway!  Not real busy, so we sit and visit for over an hour after we finished eating.  I think the ONE worker wanted to clean up and be ready to leave!  
    Rick and I are in Rm 114 on one side of the lobby and the others in 125 at the far end.  At least closer than originally scheduled.  Liz made both reservations together - you'd think they would have put us a little closer!  All in all, not our most positive experience at the Cedar Suites this time.  We had key problems and then this morning Rick and I found our fire alarm beeping beginning at 5 am!  Ouch!  Rick finally pulled it off the ceiling (it was electronically wired) and handed it to the desk lady!  
    Saturday Dave and Rick stayed at the motel in the morning, while Liz, Mom, and I went "memory driving"!  Our first stop was the First Presby Church of Yakima - 1400 members in a HUGE old style brick building.  The morning was the bi annual clothing swap, so the parking lot was bursting and the gym on the ground floor was a beehive of people and piles of clothing being tossed around.  We did manage to wander a few hallways to look around and found a hall with former pastor pictures, so were able to see Grandpa's picture.  He served Yakima from 1943 to 1950.  It was while he was there they began vacationing at Lake Chelan and hence purchased the cabin up at Stehekin.  (Mom, Liz, and Dave took the Lady of the Lake up to Stehekin and visited for the day last week!)  
    Right across from the church is the Yakima Regional Hospital where Bob Mac and I were born!  And then on a bit of a goose chase to try and locate Grandma and Grandpa's house on Chestnut Street.  Mom didn't have an address, just a memory of which corner it was on and a little bit on the style of the house.  We eventually spotted one we think might have been it, but made that decision after we had passed it by, so I didn't get a picture!  
Parker Heights manse
    From Yakima we drove down the valley toward Wapato and to the area around the Parker Heights Church.  Dad served this church as a summer intern in 1943 while he was in seminary, and then became the called pastor in late 1949, serving until we moved to Sacramento in 1955.  Liz, of course, had many more memories of living in the manse and playing in the orchards.  She attended the first grade at the elementary school across the street from the church (it is now a government migrant labor education center).  The Parker Heights pastor was getting married later Saturday afternoon, so we won't have a chance to meet him on Sunday - he'll be on his honeymoon!  But we drove up and down some of the lanes, spotting houses Mom remembered and the grocery store where Mac started a fire in the car!  
Heading out of Olive Garden
    Back up to the hotel where we find Rick grading writing papers and Dave getting hungry!  We waited a little and then tried again for the Olive Garden at lunch time!  It is still busy, but not as long a wait!  We enjoyed a nice meal and perhaps talked just a little too long, because eventually Dave missed out on his train museum in Toppenish because we arrived after 4 pm!!  Oops!  
    We headed back down the old highway 97 toward Wapato, stopped at a fruit stand where Rick and I picked up 20 lbs of golden delicious apples for drying - just in case I never get any from the Shaws.  We also stopped at Campbell Farm where Rick and I have worked on two mission trips.  No wonder Dave didn't get to Toppenish on time!  We wandered around the little town some, Rick and I checking to see if the Folklore Soda Factory was still open.  It is, but only Monday through Friday.  :(  
     We drive back up the Valley Road, past the church again, to Yakima and a little "nap time"!  Rick watches football and I get some of the doodles drawn.  Grandma is itching for ice cream, so around 7 we head over to Dairy Queen!  That makes her happy!  Back to the hotel and Mom, Liz, and I go into the lobby for a table and four rounds of Spite and Malice!  I got spanked!  
    Sunday morning dawns early for Rick and I due to the alarm!  He went back to sleep eventually, but I got up and dressed to attend church at First Pres Yakima with Mom and Liz.  They have an 8am contemporary service.  We were a little late because we ran into a lady and her daughter in the coffee room who had driven up from Texas to attend the PH pastor's wedding!  
Mom, Liz, and I in front of Dad's picture at PHPC
    The senior pastor at FPY is quite young to serve this big a church!  Awesome guitar music, three screens, etc!  But the sanctuary is almost a Gothic huge vault feel with the big rose window at the front.  Brick and wood interior.  Modern touches on an ancient base.  The choir loft had 60 seats!  
    Check out of the hotel and then both cars enroute to Parker Heights.  We will leave from there after the service and part ways at Toppenish!  Mom runs into some people who remember the family and can update her on names and people!  A most gracious welcome to all of us.  Funny to find a picture of the whole family (well, Liz and Marg) in front of the manse up by the picture of Dad!  
     We head for home around 12:15!  Smooth drive!  Home at 4.  
     One other note - it is such a small world!  Not only did we run into some people attending the wedding at the hotel, but Mom visited on the Lady of the Lake last week with Julie and Jerry Rodgers, parents of Luke's roommate Chris  his senior year at Linfield!  They had a great chat!  Mom can find people to talk with EVERYWHERE!  

View all pictures from weekend. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sisters of the Traveling Gospel Retreat - Wallowa Lake

Group picture in the giant chair - cabin on left.

October 9-10, 2010
     Just one Rembold is on the road this weekend, although I think Rick did take off for a hike on Sunday!  Thirteen women from the Presby Church took off for a night at Wallowa Lake and a stay in the Langrell Grizzly Bear cabin.
     We left Baker at 9am, with Jean, Betty Kimbell, and Trisha driving.  For once, I didn't have to drive, which was kinda nice.  I was prepared to and had the van there, but was told it wasn't needed. Rode with Trish both up to the lake and home again on Sunday.  Probably the most sustained time we have had to visit and talk in years.  It was good.
     Met in Joseph at the "blue lady" and ate lunch at Mountain Aire restaurant.  I was trying to be good on my diet, so ordered the chicken soup instead of clam chowder.  It turns out to be chicken torilla soup, which is very spicy and quite thick - with masa harina probably.  I ate about 3/4 of the bowl and decided that was enough!  Also had a side salad.
     We took about a hour to poke around some of the shops after lunch; well, two carloads did.  The other two cars went straight on up to the cabin.  Dorothy's mother was with us and it was nap time!
     The Langrell cabin is awesome.  Six bedrooms, five of them with double beds, and the sixth with two bunk beds (sleep four)  Four bathrooms!  A huge kitchen with a table that will seat 13 or 14.  Big posh couches and a gas fire place.  Decorated with taxidermy everywhere, included a giant standing grizzling bear!  We couldn't go into the tree house, much to Liz Romvedt and my dispare!
     First activity was to make our "memory books" using the leftover materials I had from school and our Orihon Japanese book project.  Everyone thought they were pretty cool and enjoyed the project.  Then we were to have our devotional time, but I suggested a short break outside in the sun, since we couldn't guarantee it was going to shine for long!  We took a group picture on the chair.  I was so impressed when Louise Trapp said, "Pull me up!"  She is game for anything at age 85! The seat of the chair must sit about 6 feet off the ground!
     Then a short walk, which evolved into a 25 minute loop down along the river and six of us arriving back at the cabin after Dorothy had already started her "lesson".  Ooops!  Discussion of 1 John, chapter 4, "We love because he first loved us."  Music - I had brought the green books and the old guitar along.  I hadn't played it in years, but we sang for about 45 minutes and had a great time with a blend of old and new, contemporary and sacred.
     Spaghetti for dinner, with bread, and a huge tossed salad.  Even some meatballs!  Louise brought brownies for dessert.  And of course, a couple bottles of wine to round things out!
     After dinner one car headed back to Baker with 4 passengers - all women who for whatever reason couldn't easily stay the night.  The rest of us were all in our PJ's (lounging wear!) by 7:30 and settled into two rounds of Quiddler which lasted until after 10!  Amber and I slept up in the bunk bed room.  I don't think I have slept that hard for some time.  Hardly moved, woke up just once.  Not a dream in my head!
     Up at 6:30 to head downstairs and exercise before too many people get up.  By the time I got to my devotional time, it was getting pretty hard to concentrate!  Trisha and I left around 7:30 to walk up to the Boy Scout Camp.  Had a great little "hike", and watched the sun rise on the peaks behind the camp.  Trish was amazed to see the flood damage and wasted new log hall just sitting there.  So sad.  
     Back for breakfast, clean-up, and then a rousing game of "Chicken Foot" Dominoes!  I had never played that before and thought it was pretty fun!  Very different from Mexican Train.  
     We leave at 10:15 to drive to Lostine for worship.  It is a beautiful sunny morning.  Don't know where the rain clouds have gone, but like the change in forecast! 
     At Lostine Presby, we find the pastor is gone and the children are leading the worship.  It is a wonderful service and I fill my bulletin plus an envelope Amber handed to me with doodles and pictures!  I will add one to this blog when I finish getting it "painted" on the computer.  
     We drive to LaGrande where we stop at the Quiznos for a bite to eat and then on in to Baker.  The weekend has been delightful and a sure success.  The Sisterhood will have to get together again next year!  


Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend!

At "Hoffer Cathedral" - Gunsight in background.
    Seems like it has already been ages since I have recorded anything here on Blogspot.  Such will be the case during the more mundane WORKING part of the year!  
    We had plans to head out camping for a day or two with friends, but when that didn't materialize, we have still had a good weekend - and accomplished quite abit as well!  
    Friday night, after a sumptious dinner of BLTs on homemade sourdough bread (Thank you Amanda for the tomatoes!), we decided to take in the home Baker Bulldog football game.  The weather was perfect and it seemed a good time to go to the ball game.  We might not want to later in the fall when it is freezing outside, windy, or snowing!  Baker defeated Weiser by at least two touchdowns, so it was a good game to watch!  
Sheet "ceiling" above pantry.
    Saturday morning Rick and I took a leisurely bike ride out the frontage road - the weather had cooled so it was perfect riding weather!  Came back to get started finishing up some things in the basement, starting with the "ceiling" in the newly finished pantry shelf area.  That led to several other patches of sheeting being put up in areas we had never finished when we started this LAST summer!  Basically we are using old white sheets from the Welcome Inn here in town to cover the rough and exposed floorboards....and all the dust, bugs, and spider webs that come with them!  Sure cleans up the basement!  We started to do the spot over my workbench, but then remembered we will need access to the bathtub pipes this fall to redo the shower, so we'll wait on that.  No sense putting up what will just have to come back down!  In between all that "work" we watched a fair amount of US Open tennis!
    Saturday evening we basically invited ourselves out to Rusty Munn's house so Rick could watch the OSU football game and Baker's own Grant Johnson #70!  We took out corn and pizza and had a great visit with Rusty!  
    I had already told the church I wouldn't be there on Sunday (we were camping, remember?), so Rick and I decided to attend the "Church of Hoffer Basin."  It really is quite a cathedral!   We also came "armed" with a small container, as Rick had seen huckleberries when he was hiking in the area last weekend.  
Grasses were turning red!
    Sunday morning, however, dawned very cool!  We went out to breakfast at the Truck Corral (it had been years since we had been there!)  Simple breakfast, cup of coffee and we are "on the road!"  (Hence this is a legitimate blog!)  And as we neared the Anthony Lakes basin we could see the trees at the tops of the ridges were all frosted and cold looking!  Perfect fall hiking weather!  Fortunately it had been wet and cold last week and Rick was ready with gloves and hats along with our jackets.  The gloves felt good.  But the skies were constantly shifting mists.  The wind was really moving the clouds overhead.   Some of the trees are starting to change colors, and there was considerable "red" in the grasses and the "wild African turkey plant" (Luke's name for it - I figured out what it was really called once, but Wild African turkey plant is embedded in our brains now!).  Pretty.  Very very pretty.  
We climbed up to Hoffer Lake and then continued on the trail to the right around the meadow, up to the upper meadow, and then headed off cross country toward the bouldered basin below Lakes Lookout - one of Rick's favorite spots.  Along the way we kept an eye out for huckleberries.  The plants with berries were scattered.  Some loaded, but still not ripe, others totally bare.  Eastern Oregon berries are so small and picking is tedious work! We probably spent at least an hour total picking during the day and came home with a little over one cup of berries!  But they will make GREAT muffins in the morning for breakfast!  
In the Hoffer basin boulder field.
    Stopped for a little gorp and devotion time up on a huge rock slab in the midst of the boulder field.  Great view up to Lees Peak, Lakes Lookout, and across to Gunsight and Van Patten Butte.  We could see Hoffer, Anthony, Lilypad, and Mud Lake in the distance.  All of it made the Hoffer Cathedral perfect.  
Don, Julie, Roxy, Cherrie, Darrell & Rusty
    Dinner at the Conklins!  Since I called Cherrie to set this up - in some ways I guess we invited ourselves to dinner again!   Don and Roxie Ulrey plus daughter Julie, and Rusty Munn made for a delightful dinner conversation!   Darrell cooked up a steelhead, and everyone brought the rest of the dinner!  Fun time!  
The hanging baskets tucked in
for the night! 
    Monday morning dawned clear and COLD!  The front door had cracked open about 10 inches and of course the kitchens windows were still open.  I checked and the temp in the house was 50 degrees.  About 33 outside.  Brrrrr.  Good thing I wrapped my tomatoes up for the night in their blankets!  
Sooooo good!
    A lazy "Labor Day"!  Maybe it was a "Non-labor Day" instead!  We watched alot of US Open Tennis, I did a little baking and sewing, Rick took in the Boise State football game with Rusty.  We spent most of the morning reading the Sunday paper, drinking coffee and eating fantastic huckleberry muffins!  So good!  

Click here to see ALL of the weekend's pictures.  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Impromptu Get Away to Anthony Lakes

Wild Onions at Black Lake

Friday - Saturday, August 13-14
VIEW pictures

Rick and I decided to take off for the night and run away to Anthony Lakes.  Luke and Jack were tied up with tennis clinic and a tournament on Saturday.  So Rick packed up the tent trailer and some food while I got a few things checked off my list, and we left at 1 pm for Anthony Lakes.  The road construction is closed on Friday through Sunday, so no delays during weekends!  

It is a beautiful day in the 80's and sunshine!  We pull into Anthony campground and find the group overflow site reserved and nearly ALL the sites in the regular campground taken, or unsuitable for the tent trailer!  Wow!  Mud Lake Campground is now a group only site, so we head up the hill to Grande Ronde Lake.  We haven't been in there for ages.  

Sign warns that the road is "not suitable for passenger cars" but we go anyway and other than a few rocks here and there, it is fine!  As we are pulling in, the park host passes us and says "The site at the end is empty and a beautiful spot, but I warn you that a large group of boys will be camped near you.  But there are adults too, so they shouldn't be too loud!"  We decide to take our chances because the site is great.  

Red Columbine
We get all set up.  A huge meadow separates us from the shallow lake.  We are in the trees right at the edge of the meadow.  A gurgling brook flows next to us.  The meadow is filled with blue gentians, Rick's favorite late season flower.  

We drive back down to Anthony Lake, and take a short hour and half hike up to Black Lake.  Wildflowers are still out, although the lupine is nearly past and all the heather has died off.  We hike around the lake.  Enroute back we visit Lilypad Lake and the abundance of water lilies covering the surface.  Finish the lap around Anthony and back to the car.  

Back at camp we both set our chairs up along the edge of the meadow in the sunshine.  A cool breeze is blowing so the sun feels good!  Time to read, work puzzles, and listen to the osprey and the brook!  

Dinner is a random blend of pretzels, peanuts, carrots, a hunk of cheese and a bottle of wine.  Nice!  We have a wonderful fire and after dark I amuse myself taking sparks pictures - they looked like fireworks going off!  

We go to bed early and set the watch to waken just before midnight.  Tonight is still a good time to watch the Perseid Meteor shower with peak activity between midnight and two am.  The meteors should be in the NE sky and that is exactly the direction you look from the meadow toward the lake.  

I get up at 11:45 and set up a chair at the edge of the meadow with my sleeping bag over me.  Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed in the number and size of the meteors I saw - only 12 in the hour I sat out in the dark.  However, the clear skies and the vast array of stars and the Milky Way was awesome in its own right!  I went back to bed at 1am when I realized how wet from the dew the sleeping bag was getting!  (Rick bailed out on the viewing....saying he was so warm and snuggly in his bed!  :)

What a gorgeous spot to fish!
Up in the morning to seek the sun and read a little.  Enjoyed a little coffee and breakfast of bagels and hard boiled eggs!  

We decided to break camp and head down the mountain to Van Patten trailhead and the hike up to the lake for a little fishing.  Took me an hour to get up the steep trail (1.5 miles), but we spent a beautiful 2 1/2 hours at the lake....Rick fishing (caught 5 small ones which he threw back) and I relaxed in the sun reading and finishing the Soduku Monster from Sunday's paper.  Osprey flying and diving.  Beautiful.     (I can't help but mention also that I had to cut a fishing lure from the back of Rick's pants as he snagged himself!)

Home by 3pm refreshed and ready to roll!  

Monday, August 9, 2010


Sunday, August 8

Steubenville, OH: Robin’s home

VIEW a sampling of today’s pictures

The house was full last night! Three air beds downstairs, plus Rod and Chasey on the couches. Meg slept on the floor in the sewing room. Technically I think Grandma has been sleeping in Megan’s old bedroom, and Rick and I are in Matt’s bedroom downstairs. The basement crew was up late Saturday night, hence, a bit slow in rising today!

Morning spent taking walks, preparing the fixings for today’s meal, reading papers, etc. In general – nothing too exciting! The weather forebodes a warm one as the air is already muggy. I spent down “church time” at the swing near the pond – a beautiful setting and still in the shade in the morning hours!

Tom and Betty are arriving just as Karen, Megan, and I leave for the grocery store to pick up the deli trays. Luke also needs me to pick up some Alkaselzter Plus as he is having some major allergy problems the past few days. Grandma has been making drug recommendations, Robin gave him something, etc. We should have asked Meg – she’s the pharmacist! Unfortunately, it’s been developing also into a sinus headache.

When we get back, Randy, Patty, and Rachael have arrived and the games get into full swing. For most of the afternoon (around the food time), Jed, Luke, Rachael, Matt, Chasey and either Rod or I were downstairs with a board game or outside with home run derby or croquet. Outside was limited as it was HOT and HUMID! Sorry, Buzz Word, Oregon Trail, UNO, and Trivial Pursuit downstairs. (Just for the record: Chasey won Sorry, Boys’ team won Buzz word, Ginger won UNO, we all LOST Oregon Trail, and the Girls’ team of Ginger, Chasey, and Rachael won Trivial Pursuit. We owe our victory to Chasey who is an awesome dice roller! (Beating Patty and Rod, no less! Rod is a formidable opponent of sports and history trivia!)

We ate around 2:30 and Tad and Edwina arrived just in time! Tom and Betty have the motor home parked in the driveway and their new puppy Jake, an English setter. (CUTE!) Tad and Edwina have their pug, Sofie. The dogs provide late afternoon entertainment on the vast lawn!

At 5:30 we surprise Mom with a large cake and an 80th birthday celebration. We are a week early (her birthday is on the 14th) but everyone is here now! Cake, ice cream, and peanut butter pie on the menu! Wow!

Group pictures follow, as Matt and Megan must leave to return to Pittsburgh and get Matt on the plane for an 8:30 flight to Chicago. While we wait for Rod to return from a walk with Sadie, Jed, Luke, Rachael, and Chasey take “Air Pictures” out on the lawn. I have a few on my camera, but none of the group ones. Jed will have to post those! Tad and Edwina leave later, and at the conclusion of the Trivial Pursuit game, Randy, Patty, & Rachael head back up to her mom’s, taking Rod and Chasey back to Greenville on the way. Basement suddenly seems so QUIET!

I stayed up way too late playing cribbage and Quiddler with Jed and Luke while we watched the championship match of one of the US Open tennis series tourneys. Rob receives the Tennis Channel which makes tennis viewing easy on the big screen downstairs!

All in all, a good day of family time. I realized Jed and Luke have had a tremendous year of renewing ties with cousins on both sides of the family. With the aid of Facebook, we shall keep it going! Thanks to Rob and Karen for all their prep work and hospitality in having everyone here in Steubenville. (We were thankful we were at an air conditioned home today!)

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Saturday, August 7

Greenville, PA

VIEW a sample of pictures from today

We are up early to prepare for an 8 am departure for Greenville. Matt arrived yesterday afternoon, flying in from Chicago. The basement is beginning to fill up, but we will have 3 more staying here tonight!

On the road shortly after 8. Karen drives one car with Mom, Luke, and Matt. Rob drives the second with Rick, Jed, and myself. It is a pretty drive, passing huge mills on the river, small little villages nestled in the hills, and acres and acres of corn fields and other vegetables. Everything is so green when you come east in the summer, compared to our sunbaked, NONhumid, west. The weather today is atypical and delightful! Highs are forecast in the 70’s low 80’s and the humidity is down.

Greenville Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 180th year of worship in this community. A very prominent, old stone structure with beautiful stained glass windows and large classrooms downstairs. We quickly set up the urn, move flowers, and figure out where Luke and I will stand to sing. I set up the computer downstairs with pictures of Pop set to scroll for the next three hours!

Family in attendance: Tom (Mom’s brother) and Betty from North Carolina, Edwina (Mom’s sister), and Tad from Pittsburgh, their daughter Susie from Washington DC, Randy, Patty, and Rachael from New Mexico, Rod from Greenville, Rod’s daughter Denise and her three children, Kevin, Kyle, and Chasey from Greenville, Rob, Karen, Matt (Chicago) and Megan (Pittsburgh), and the four of us from Oregon. A highlight for Mom was also her long time friend, Eleanor Mackenzie, who was down from Canada!

Rick, Rod, and Randy greeted many guests as they arrived, Rick grateful for Rod’s extensive knowledge of everyone who arrived – faces Rick hadn’t seen in years! Mom was able to visit with many prior to the service and the rest afterwards!

The service went well. The three grandsons each read two scriptures, Luke and I sang the song, “When All Is Said and Done” by Tyrone Wells. Thank you, God, for the strength to sing inspite of the circumstances! Rick shared memories of Pop and read the obituary. The pastor concluded with comments and reflections.

We were downstairs from about noon until 2 pm visiting. Denise and the boys had to leave so Denise could catch a little sleep before going to work. Chasey and Rod will be coming on down to Steubenville tonight.

We load some flowers and two trays of cookies into the cars and parade about 30 miles southeast to Jackson Center, where the Pleasant Hill Cemetery is located. This is the Robson family cemetery and we explore many gravesites from the family of Ralph T. Robson. (Mom’s father) We are about a half hour early, so plenty of time to explore while waiting for the minister to arrive. (Altho the sun is warm and we begin to gather in the shade of the trees circling the area).

The committal service is short yet moving. The headstone is beautiful and we leave the spray of flowers from the church on top after the grass is replaced. Rick carried the urn out from the car and Randy placed it in the hole at the appropriate time. I wish I had thought ahead to have a few momentos to toss in with the urn: Little Debbies, Werther’s, maybe a piece of music........ memories of Pop.

We drove down the road a short piece to the Yellowcreek Inn. A good, family style restaurant. We have reserved a long table right in the center of the place and enjoy a nice meal.

Susie is the only family member who will not be down at Robin's tomorrow. She has to return to DC for a Monday morning meeting. Tom and Betty will be coming down in the RV from the campground they are in at Mercer, Tad and Edwina driving back over from Pittsburgh.

Just under 2 hours finds us back in Steubenville and evening spent visiting, eating cookies and drinking wine! Home run derby on the lawn, croquet, and a little hot tub action.

More family time to anticipate and celebrate on Sunday ahead!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Friday morning, Steubenville
VIEW ball game pictures
Highlight for yesterday was a trip to the Pirates new ball field and a game with the Colorado Rockies! Even more amazing.....the Pirates won the game 5-1! (Distressingly with a new pitcher they acquired from the Dodgers!)
After a quiet morning sitting on the screen porch at Rob's and visiting, we decided at noon time that Thursday would be the best day to attend a Pirates game if we were going to go. Monday no game is scheduled, so no chance then. We go online with Karen and order five tickets. Mom and Karen are going to meet Meg this afternoon to pick up the guitar and get Mom some new shoes. Rob is going to the game with us.
Karen and I spend the afternoon going through photo albums to scan more pictures of Pop and the kids into the slide show. We find about 40 more - makes me feel better that it won't JUST be pictures of Jed and Luke! Hopefully I will get some today or tomorrow morning from Randy.
We take off for Pittsburgh shortly after 5. The skies are clearing, and it isn't TOO hot and muggy! The papers today were still filled with news of the storm yesterday - most of the damage was centered about 40 miles south of here.
Through the Fort Pitt tunnel and the view suddenly opens to the whole cityscape of Pittsburgh and the three rivers. Pittsburgh is a pretty city, especially at night. We can see the little cars of the Incline to our right and I spy my favorite Pittsburgh tower which looks like a castle! Rob has a parking lot in mind - a tire store that opens up the lot on game days for $5 parking. We find a spot and then walk a short distance to the Roberto Clemente bridge. They close the bridge on game days to traffic and open it only to pedestrians crossing over to the stadium on the other side.
Enroute we pass a 2008 sculpture created from miniature bridges in the "transformer" fashion. It is pretty cool and a great example of public art! VIEW
We have great seats along the first base line and in the lower deck. Sun is behind us so we are also in the shade! PNC Stadium is relatively new and beautifully intimate! The skyline is just beyond the outfield fences and the river. The hedge in center field is cut to spell out Pirates. Surrounding the upper deck is a large LED screen that encircles the stadium. There are many fun promotions, games, etc. run during the inning breaks. A fun time! Rick purchased a Philly Steak sandwich, but was disappointed in the flavor. :( It was a little bland, which is a lot for me to say!
Fun ballgame with plenty of hitting on the part of the Pirates! A couple of home runs, doubles, and action! Lots of strikeouts for our pitcher.
Home around 11 to clear starry skies (which quickly produced a heavy rain storm around midnight!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Thursday morning, August 5

Robin & Karen’s home, Steubenville, Ohio

Well, our “Rembolds on the Road” turned into “Rembolds in the Air” for this part of the summer! We left Baker City Tuesday afternoon to drive down to Boise, Idaho and spent the night at the Sleep Inn next to the airport. Dinner at the Mongolian Grill and then back to the hotel as it was mid 90’s outside! We will be able to leave the car parked at the hotel for the week we are gone.

Up at 4am for a 4:40 shuttle to the airport and a 6am departure! Smooth sailing into Denver, although Jed has to sit separately because we didn’t book the flight together. He doesn’t mind! Luke and I play two games of Cribbage enroute, one of which I SHOULD have won if I hadn’t missed 8 points!

We had a two hour layover in Denver, which Rick and I spent walking around and the boys played a game on the computer. We got sandwiches at Quizno’s as the lunch provided on the plane is for first class customers only!

Jed chooses to sit separately again because he plans to sleep for this 3 hour flight! Luke and I work on puzzles which Rick reads the paper. Then a nap for Rick and two more games of cribbage for Luke and me. The three hours seems to go fairly quickly and uneventfully.

We arrive in Pittsburgh right on time and evidently JUST IN TIME! As we leave the airport with Rob, the storm begins to hit. We drive right into one of the strongest thunder and lightning storms I have seen in some time! Strong winds, HEAVY rain, and lightning bolts all over the place! Wow! A good thing we weren’t trying to land in Pittsburgh at 4 pm instead of 3 pm – we would be flying in circles above all this waiting to land!

We are all settled at Rob’s in the basement “apartment” – boys each have a blow up queen size mattress to sleep on and Rick and I have the guest room. Pretty posh! Karen has a great dinner ready and a quiet evening of visiting until a good sleep!

Rob and Karen's home sits on the top of a hill outside of town. There is only one home next to them and a vacant woodland on the other side. Acres of grassy area which is wonderful to run through barefoot, especially with the recent rain. About 8 years ago Karen developed a pond on the west side of the house. The perenniels have grown beautifully and it is a very tranquil spot now. Karen has a swing near it which overlooks the pond and the woodland below. About a dozen fish swimming around which she feeds when the fountain turns off. I am constantly reminded the plus side of the humidity - flowers grow profusely! You can sit on the screen porch facing north and the woodland below and watch critters cross the yard, fireflies, and wild turkeys!

As we read this morning's paper and about the widespread power outages from yesterday's storm, we say thank you again for a smooth flight and landing! And that Steubenville wasn't as hard hit. With all the family coming, a power outage right now would NOT be pleasant! Blessings on those who are without at the moment further south of us.

Thank you for family!