The 4th of July

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Their story. . .

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;
another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,
and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants.

Nine were farmers and large plantation owners;
men of means, well educated.

But they signed the Declaration of Independence
knowing full well that the penalty would be death if
they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and
trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to
pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British
that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.
He served in the Congress without pay, and his family
was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him,
and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton , Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that
the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General
George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.
The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill
were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests
and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his
children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and
silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.

Author, Anonymous

Remember: freedom is never free!

Pirates! Ahoy, mateys!

Blimey! It is once again time for the Pirate invasion at Rockaway Beach on the Oregon Coast. The 7th annual Pirate Festival and Treasure Hunt start June 27, so head on up to a great place on the coast and enjoy all the fun!

Be prepared for challenging games of skill, roving pirates, performances, roving pirates, musical pirate acts, roving pirates, food, drink, roving pirates, vendors selling unusual items, roving pirates, a scavenger hunt and roving pirates. Did someone say roving pirates? Shiver me timbers!

Avast ye! There will be a ferocious, rag-tag gathering of mercenaries, buccaneers and vicious scallywags sailing into this Northwest coast port for the weekend. These Freebooters came together in 2008 and have been pillaging along the Oregon Coast plying their own trade in piratical living history. These miscreants will demonstrate fire dancing, swashbuckling sword fights, blasting cannons and more. You can play a game of Liar’s Dice with one of these Seadogs or sign on to the crew!

In addition, you may see the King’s Navy. Based in Portland, the King’s Navy consists of re-enactors who work to present sailors and mariners of the Royal Navy as accurately as possible. With their field carriage-mounted English cannon, this navy has appeared at historic events throughout the US and Canada, including Colonial Williamsburg.

We discovered in writing this article that one of our favorite Tall Ships, The Lady Washington, often doubles as Captain Hooks Jolly Roger!!

All hands hoay for a fun-filled, yo-ho-ho kind of piratey weekend. Don’t forget to stop in and visit us at on your way up the coast to partake of some crackle fruit and grog! AARRGG!!!




Caribou City

Recently one of our family members took an ATV road trip from Thayne, WY, to Caribou City, ID. Caribou City is an old mining ghost town just below Caribou Mountain. The city was named after an old miner called Caribou Jack. Jack discovered gold on the mountain in the late 1800s and a town rose up overnight.

Caribou City was an old west gold mining town with mainly tents for housing. The city was settled in 1897 and later 1,500 souls resided here. Over time, $1,673,892.00 worth of gold was deposited from the mines in this area.

The businesses in Caribou City grew up around the needs and wants of the miners. At one time there were 32 whorehouses, saloons and gambling dens with a US Post Office being built in 1900.

Over the years, 700 Chinese miners inhabited the city. At its prime Caribou City was one of the biggest mining camps in the West. The last remaining resident who was 96 years old, was moved close by to Swan Valley in 1930 where he had family to live with.

Caribou City is a true ghost town with no residents and very few buildings left. There is old mining equipment scattered around the hillsides. It is warm here in summer but very very cold winters.

Access from Idaho passes through Soda Springs and then about 20 miles to Henry, ID on Highway 30. If you have trouble finding, Caribou City, ask any local as they are happy to point out Caribou City and Caribou Mountain. Be sure to have your 4 wheel drive turned on or your ATV revved up as the roads are rough and tough.

The photos are some our family member took on the ride to Caribou City/Caribou Mountain. The lake is Palisades Lake which you pass coming from Wyoming. Let us know if you spot ‘Shadow’ (our pup) or any other critters.

Oregon Divisional Chainsaw Sculpting Championships

Starting tomorrow, June 14, 2018, Reedsport, Oregon will host the Oregon Divisional Chainsaw Sculpting Championships.  This is an annual event and will take place through Sunday.

Chainsaw carving is an extreme art—it’s kinda hard to carve with a chainsaw. But, the artists turn out very beautiful work, usually incorporating trees and wildlife. 

There are a variety of events, including quick saw, that are timed or worked on over the entire weekend.  Bring the family to the Rainbow Plaza in Reedsport and enjoy this amazing competition.  Following is our 2015 post, and photos, about this annual event.

Oregon celebrates its 150th anniversary as a state this year. In keeping with this statewide celebration, the annual Reedsport Chainsaw Carving Sculpture Championship this past June adopted “Oregon 150” as its theme for 2015. Each carver created a work of art from what amounts to a large log representing someone or something in line with the 150th theme.

This is by way of introducing you to the annual “Woodcarver’s Ball” so to speak on the Oregon Coast in Douglas County. Just 18 miles from Umpqua River Haven, this celebration of one of Oregon’s largest industries, timber, takes place every year in Reedsport.

 The carving area.CarvingAreaBlocksOfWood

Oregon has a lifetime history with timbering dating back to the early days (remember our blog post about Scottsburg). Mostly men worked in the forests of Oregon cutting down large Douglas Fir for housing and industry needs. When chainsaws came into being it changed the industry quite a bit by allowing faster, more efficient means of harvesting the trees that are grown for that purpose. Those doing the cutting became creative with their chainsaws working to outdo each other. The competitions were born.

The Reedsport competition was started 10 years ago by Bob and Cindy King, both Reedsport natives. Bob is a championship carver himself. The Kings have moved out of state and the 4-day event over Father’s Day is now managed by the Reedsport/Winchester Bay Chamber of Commerce and supported by sponsors, businesses and individuals. We want to share with you a few of the amazing sculptures the carvers have created over the years. Keep in mind these are all done with chainsaws.

 Beginning the process.

Bob King from Edgewood, Wash., carves a bear during the quick carve event on the final day of the 13th annual Oregon Divisional Chainsaw Sculpting Championships in Reedsport, Ore. King also traveled to Mulda, Germany recently to compete in the wood carving world cup. (AP Photo/The World, Benjamin Brayfield) STANDALONE PHOTO

2010 First Place

 Angel 2015


Snorkel Bear 2008


Seals & Pelicans


 First Place


Bears are very popular at this event.  2015


Come stay with us at Umpqua River Haven next June and take in this unique artistic event on the Oregon Coast. We are just 18 miles from Reedsport @  You can learn more:  Don’t forget to come back to our blog!


Pistol River Wave Bash

The International Windsurfing Tour will be at Gold Beach, Oregon, starting Thursday, June 7th, 2018. Back for the ninth year in a row, this is the Pistol River Wave Bash and runs through Sunday, June 10th.

With insurance and permits all in order, the contest is set to run at “The Rock” in the Pistol River State Park. If conditions warrant, the contest will be in front of the Beachcomber in Gold Beach.

There will be a skipper’s meeting every morning where the call will be announced. Be sure and register and bring your friends along, too.

When you arrive, you can access “The Rock,” which is in the middle of the open sandy beach, from a gravel parking area just off the main highway. Park there and walk your gear 200m down to the beach through the coastal vegetation. It is just 10 minutes from Gold Beach where you can find accommodations for your stay. The Inn of the Beachcomber sponsors the event and this is where you can stay. Be sure to let them know you are there for this event when you book your stay. http:///

Cold Water wetsuits are needed for the chilly Pacific waters. The air temperatures can be either cold or hot, so bring warm clothes, boardies and t-shirts.

You can obtain more information about the event and about sharing a room with other riders from Sam at

What a fun way to spend a weekend on the Oregon Coast. If you pass by Umpqua River Haven on your way to the coast road coming or going, do stop and and see us We’d love to hear all about your windsurfing experience at Gold Beach!

Coos Bay Wine Walk

Get ready for a fun evening in Coos Bay this coming Friday, June 1, 2018. Many area businesses are sponsoring a Wine Walk which starts at the Coos Bay Visitor Information Center and runs from 5:00 p.m. to about 7:00 p.m


For a $10.00 donation, the Center will provide wine glasses and maps of the various businesses participating. The donations benefit local non-profit organizations.


The non-profit beneficiaries for June are the Coos Watershed Association, the Friends of South Slough and community service of the Bay Area Rotary Club.


This event happens on the first Friday of each month except for January, with donations going to different non-profits every month.


The map is produced just a few days before the Wine Walk and can be found on this website on Fridays:


Following the Wine Walk, visit 7 Devils Brewing Company to hear the Bay City Swing band. It will be a truly fun-filled evening in Coos Bay, Oregon. The weather is going to be sunny and 65 degrees, so come on out to enjoy it all.


Umpqua River Haven is just about an hour from Coos Bay. Do stop in and say ‘hello’ to us on your way, or, spent a night or two in your RV. We would love to see you!

Ohio Bike Week

It’s Ohio Bike Week in Sandusky, Ohio right now. All those bikers you may have seen in Florence, Oregon last weekend at Rhody Days are now in Nothern Ohio on Lake Erie. This is toted as the “home of the Midwest’s largest motorcycle rally.” So while you are heading to the mountains, forests or beach for Memorial Day, the roads in Ohio are filled with Harleys. Beautiful riding machines!

The Mad-River Harley Davidson Store on Milan Rd in Sandusky hosts this annual week’s event. The parking lot is filled with Harleys and with trailers that often carry them behind pickups from bike event to bike event. There are also many vendors hosted here with items for sale geared to the bikers. They also host a few events, give away a brand new Harley, and a trip to the H-D 115th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee during the week.

There is a lot going on through Memorial Day including live music, rides, a saloon and eats. There are a lot of bikes on the highways and streets in towns. There is a highway theme stating: There Are Motorcycles Everywhere! Look Twice, Save A Life!

There isn’t a much freer feeling than cruising down the road on a Harley. But, remember that that freedom isn’t free!

Rhody Days 2018

It is once again time for Rhody Days in Florence, Oregon, on the coast!  Starting Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20, all the usual, fun activities will take place and maybe a few new ones, too. There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors in town for a day or the weekend as this is a most popular coast event. Come join in the fun. Our post from 2015 below will let you in on many of the activities you can enjoy! Check out the new photo added in 2018 of the Budweiser Clydesdales!

It’s Rhody Days weekend again!!!  A short 45-minute drive from Umpqua River Haven, Florence, OR is home to this festival every year mid-May.


The above photo was taken in our park, Umpqua River Haven. There are many varieties of “Rhodies” and Oregon has them all. Wild ones are usually pink and do grow wild along the coast road near Florence. But you will find them planted everywhere.

When we first came to Oregon and visited the coast, we didn’t know what those beautiful flowers were. But we soon discovered they were wild “Rhodies” on the coast road just south of Windy Bay.


At the Florence Events Center, many Florence gardeners display in the competition the Rhododendrons they have grown. The usual award categories are in evidence and it is major eye candy to visit during the festival competition.


Florence is a busy place during Rhody Days and Old Town on the Siuslaw River is host to a variety of visitors. Not to be missed are the Rhody Run Bikers. Bikers from all over the country arrive and park their Harley’s on the streets of Old Town. It’s quite a sight!


In 2015, Budweiser brought their Clydesdales to the Rhody Festival. They were housed in the middle of town in a big tent-barn. They are magnificent to see up close and in person and having them there was a real treat for everyone.

There are a variety of events and activities including the parade, street vendor fair, 5K run, carnival and more. You can meet Queen Rhododendra and King of the Coast. Our personal favorite event is the Classic Car Show. Yummy cars from all over are parked in the big parking lot on Highway 101 in the center of town. Our friend, Myron Aho, started the Rhody Days Car Show and it has grown big over the years. Bring your Classic Car and join in the fun!


Come stay with us at Umpqua River Haven away from the crowds (hard to get a room on the coast at this time anyway) and enjoy Rhody Days in Florence the weekend of May 18 – 20! If you miss this particular weekend, come anyway. The Rhodys are still in bloom and the coast is beautiful!


Shore Acres State Park

May is the time of year to see the many wild Rhododendrons in bloom, along with the many varieties of them that are planted, up and down the Oregon Coast. ‘Rhody’s’ are celebrated throughout Oregon and particularly on the coast. There are contests, events, motorcycle rallies and car shows planned around the time when the ‘Rhodys’ are in full bloom.

Mother’s Day is a special time at Shore Acres State Park. The Southwestern Oregon Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will be on hand with their expertise to show displays and answer any questions about ‘Rhodys’ in the Garden.   From 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday, May 13, 2018, you can visit the ‘Rhodys’ in bloom and learn all about them. The Bay Area Artist Association will hold their paint-out in the Garden and serve refreshments during the same hours. The Friends of Shore Acres will also host refreshments in the Garden House serving cookies, punch and coffee and it’s always good!

This is a great way to help mom celebrate her day. It is a free event with parking just $5.00. The park is 12 miles southwest of Coos Bay on the Cape Arago Highway right on the ocean. Mom will love you for treating her this way. The following photo is of one of Umpqua River Haven’s Rhody’s in full bloom.

You’ve read about Shore Acres State Park a bit before, especially the Christmas holiday light displays. But, there is much more to this beautiful, botanical garden. The park sits up on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean not far past Charleston, Oregon. The core of this property was originally the home of pioneer timber baron Louis Simpson who built a large mansion with formal gardens also overlooking the ocean.

The State of Oregon purchased the property in 1942 and added land as it became available. The mansion no longer exists but there is an observation area where it once was where you can read all the history. However, the caretaker’s cottage survives and is now the Garden House.

The gardens were let go until 1970 when they were restored even grander than before with flowers and plants from all over the world. One of our favorite parts of the gardens is hidden a bit. There is an area with rows of all kinds of roses! Visit the rose garden with us as you view photos taken by a family member one year when we were there.

There are, of course, many kinds of flowers in the gardens. The following are just a few we took photos of on our stroll through the gardens. If you know what the ones are that we could not identify, please comment and tell us what they are!


The following 3 are a mystery to us! We thought them unique and quite beautiful. 

Shore Acres State Park is about an hour and 20 minutes from  Stop in and say ‘Hi’ on your way there or stay with us!

One more photo from Umpqua River Haven. This time our pink Rhody in full bloom! We love our Rhodys!

Picture Of The Day

Once again it’s several pictures of the day on a family adventure day starting with heading out of Thayne, Wyoming.

We went to the town square in Jackson,  Wyoming like any other tourist. Took this shot of one of the antler arches. Wyoming is currently having a “That’s Wyoming” contest. You pick up the flag and snap photos with the flag in the pictures and post on Instagram. We have 6 or 7 posted now. I think there’s a prize of some kind but we’re just having fun snapping the pix. I have entered the actual photo contest with a few of this week’s pictures. That is a family member’s back you see in this picture.

Everyone asks if we’ve seen a moose and today we spotted this one in downtown Jackson. He was very cooperative for our “That’s Wyoming” picture.

We finished playing tourist in town and drove up the steepest mountain road in the US to the top of Teton Pass. The next two photos are on the way up the mountain. Along the way, some idiot passed us on a double yellow line. We were driving the speed limit. We honked at him. But this is the scenery going up.

Yesterday there was an avalanche on the pass and they bombed the snow in order to get it under control. That was after getting all the cars off the road. And believe me when I tell you there are plenty of cars and trucks and semis and more. This photo shows how much snow is still here.

At the summit, we did snap our “That’s Wyoming” picture but we took this one just for you!

The sign in the corner might not be clear but here’s another one of it announcing that you are looking at Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole is a real ‘hole’ surrounded by mountains. It encompasses Jackson, Wilson, Teton Village and other areas within the hole. This sign points the way to the view.

We hung out for awhile, helping some people from Belgium deal with their overheated radiator. Then, looking around we saw this. That little spot is a Wyoming Prairie Dog. Not sure what it was doing up so high as they normally live much lower on the actual prairie. But there it was parked in the snow.

One story about today’s adventure is that we were driving back down the switchback roads and came up behind a Semi (you know, the BIG tractor-trailers). It was smokin’.  Literally.  Its breaks were smoking and so was the rubber on its tires. At least one of those many tires was blown. License plate showed it was from Florida. Like he’d ever seen a mountain before! There is a catch-net which was about 1/4 mile away but he found a wide place in the road—not easy on a mountainside—and pulled over and we were able to pass. We weren’t sure we wanted to be in front of him but his smoke was scary. And smelly! We passed the catch-net and felt better about doing that. Do not know how he fared.

At the bottom heading into town is this sign.

The road took us to the outskirts of Jackson heading back to Thayne. We made the inevitable grocery store stop and then on the road again. It’s about 60 miles but the construction slows you down a bit. We must have passed 6 or 7 state troopers/sheriff’s vehicles. ‘Tis the season so slow down!                                                                                                                                                                                      Passing through Etna, Wyoming (almost home to Thayne), there is a small RV park alongside the road. Some of it is a bit rough but it’s home to those that live there. At one end is the most bizarre thing—a large, white chicken. Have no clue why, but it is certainly a landmark. It is on the left in the photo.

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Wyoming adventure—we sure did!