The first Oktoberfest occurred in 1810 in celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in Bavaria. This celebration was held 5 days after the marriage with a large feast in front of one of the gates into Munich. There were horse races for many years and in 1811 an agricultural fair was added (Farmer’s Market). In 1818 beer pubs were added along with performers.

The festival drew crowds of tourists who learned about Bavaria and its people. By 1887, traditional dress in the way of lederhosen (leather shorts for men) and dirndls (a bit like pinafores for women) became the norm. Traditional dance was done in costume and included Schuhplattler Dance (traditional men’s slap-dancing) and couple polkas.

Today, Oktoberfests are held in September due to the milder weather. In Munich. The fest lasts for 16 days starting on a Saturday in September and ending on the first Sunday in October. Oktoberfest is always great fun and there’s always beer. Lots of beer.In the US there are many Octoberfest celebrations and Oregon is no exception. This coming weekend, October 12 through the 15th, is Oregon’s largest Octoberfest celebration at Mt. Angel, Oregon, which is a short distance Northeast of Salem. This 54th Annual Harvest Celebration German style provides family fun, food, music and beer.

There are several featured attractions: Die Fruchtsaule which is the Harvest Monument and the official symbol of Oktoberfest. It is new every year. Another attraction is the Friday and Saturday night street dances that begin at 8:00 at the Bandstand. You will have the opportunity to dance the Chicken Dance and also learn to Polka and Schottische. Another featured favorite is the Cruz’n Car Shows on Saturday and Sunday. The car shows are new each day with 100 different cars each day.There are several events, some of which are: The Kick-Off Party, the Pedal Tractor Race and the Biergarten. Come join in the fun and discover many more events for young, old and in between. You can’t help but have fun Oktoberfest weekend.

Come stay with us at www.umpquahaven.com We are about an easy 2 and 1/2 hours drive from Mt. Angel and all the Oktoberfest fun!

Cape Arago

Out of Coos Bay/North Bend and through Charleston, Oregon, as you continue traveling, you will come to the Cape Arago Beach Loop. This area is part of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and also contains three state parks, Sunset Bay State Park, Cape Arago State Park and the beautiful botanical gardens of Shore Acres State Park. Sunset Bay has a very popular and calm beach dipped inside a natural cove. Bastendorff Beach is a day-use expansive beach right on the ocean, a great place to fly a kite!

The Cape has so much to offer. Hike up to the Cape Arago Lighthouse Viewpoint and take in the vast and always beautiful Pacific Coast views. There is a hiking trail along the Oregon Coast Trail. It is a bit rugged in places as it passes along the ocean cliffs.

Visit Simpson Reef where hundreds of seals and sea lions can be seen. Spot a migrating whale from here and beware of the crashing waves. You will find seal pups on the beach but please do not disturb them as they are just waiting for their moms to return.

There is an island here, Shell Island with an Interpretive Stop. This is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Here are breeding grounds and rest areas for Marine mammals and ocean birds. Bring your binoculars to the Interpretive Stop for the best viewing.

The end of the Cape Arago Highway opens up to a large viewing area. Off to the right is the trail down to a cove where, at low tied, you will find some of the best tide pooling around for Sea Stars, Turban Snails, Sea Anemones and more. This is also a great place to watch the offshore seal and sea lion colonies. You can hear them barking before you will see them. Other ocean life can be found here also.

A few years ago, as we walked back up from the tide pool cove and seals and sea lions, we stopped to sit on a bench about halfway up to watch the ocean. Not too far offshore, we spotted our first ever whale breaching and diving as it fished for plankton. Lots of excitement here!

Plan to spend a day or two discovering this beautiful and unique area of the Oregon Coast. www.umpquahaven.com is an easy hour and fifteen-minute drive away from Cape Arago. Come stay with us and return home to your own comfortable RV at night. You will sleep peacefully in the serene quiet of our small park!

On The Trail With Eliot Ness

We recently went on another awesome Lolly the Trolley tour in Cleveland, Ohio. Leaving the Powerhouse in the West Flats, our tour guide took us first to many Clevelander’s favorite kinds of photo op location. A 2-week old Scripts CLEVELAND sign is now very close to downtown and we stopped to take some shots of it.

Following this fun stop, our Eliot Ness tour began. In 1927, Eliot Ness was longing for a more challenging job than the one he had. His oldest brother-in-law, Alexander Jamie, brought Ness in as an agent with the U.S.Treasury Department. Jamie worked for the Prohibition Bureau. In 1928, Ness was transferred to the Justice Department to work for the Prohibition Bureau with a stint in Chicago.

Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and Ness was next assigned to the Cincinnati enforcement division of the Treasury Department’s Alcohol Tax Unit. Ness was transferred in 1934 to Cleveland where he became the lead agent with the Cleveland Regional Office for the same department. Cleveland’s premier newspaper, the Plain Dealer, published a feature story about Ness in September of that same year. It was titled “Gangs Here Face Capone Waterloo” and was written by Charles Lawrence.

One of our stops on the tour was at a place where every photographer stops to take photos of downtown Cleveland. You can see why:

In 1935, Cleveland was the fifth largest city in the nation and was named the most dangerous city in the United States. In December of that same year, Cleveland Mayor, Harold Burton, recruited Eliot Ness to become the city’s youngest Safety Director at age 33.

Ness nearly eliminated corruption and major crimes on the Cleveland streets, instituted the most modern traffic technologies, started many Boy Scout Troops to combat youth crime and boosted the fire department up to current national standards. The processes he instituted turned Cleveland around.

Ness’s next task was to close down the bootlegging operations of Al Capone. According to our trolley guide, he was looking for men who wouldn’t take a bribe. 100 men were chosen and then whittled down to 50 and again to just 11. Ness had handpicked these men from all over the country. They were nicknamed the “Untouchables” due to the fact that no one could corrupt them with a bribe.

Along the tour route, we passed a favorite restaurant of Ness that is still very much the same as it was during Ness’s tenure in Cleveland:

One of the buildings we passed along the way was a hang-out for Babe Ruth. He once wrote a check here for $18.00 and change and the owner put it on the wall, never cashing it. Jim thought that the Babe might have written more checks after that since they might not get cashed either.

Eliot Ness seldom carried a weapon. He didn’t need one. He was everywhere rounding up the bad guys and he was very successful at it. Until the Torso Murders.

Kingsbury Run was also known as Shantytown. The homeless camped up and down the long, wide natural area of Kingsbury Run. This is where, they believe, the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run both lured his victims and dumped the headless and limbless torsos. This is the path of Kingsbury Run as it looks today.

Between 1935 and 1938, 13 torsos were found in various places. Some on the beach/shore of Lake Erie, some on Jackass Hill and some in Kingsbury Run. Eliot Ness lead the investigation into these murders but never officially discovered “whodunit.” Some boys found two of the bodies at this remote location:


There were three theories as to who the Butcher was. One was a man named Frank Doelzal. He was arrested and interrogated in the murder of Florence Polillo. He later died in jail under suspicious circumstances.

Another theory was that there was more than one killer. Autopsies were inconclusive as to whether the cuts were expert or haphazard.

Dr. Francis E. Sweeney was Ness’s star suspect. He failed two polygraph tests. He had medical amputation and patching experience in the field during World War II. But Ness must have thought there was little chance of prosecution especially since his political opponent, Congressman Martin L. Sweeney, was the doctor’s first cousin.

Dr. Sweeney committed himself and the police could find no more evidence linking him to the murders. Threatening postcards with Sweeney’s name on them harassed and mocked Ness and his family into the 1950’s. Sweeney died in a Vet’s hospital in 1964. The murders were never solved.

Ness eventually retired from police work and moved on to other endeavors in Pennsylvania. He died of a massive heart attack in 1957, at the age of 54, in the home he shared with his third wife and 6-year-old adopted son, Robert. Robert kept his ashes which passed on to Robert’s widow when Robert died. She kept them until 1998 when they were united with Robert’s and his mother’s ashes in a formal funeral ceremony. Their combined ashes were spread over Wade Lake in Lake View Cemetery on Cleveland’s east side. There is a stone marker near the lake for Ness and his family.

Photo credit:  Bruce McKelvey

Lake View Cemetery is a very large, well-kept cemetery where many famous people are buried including:

President Garfield and his family:

Photo credit:  Bruce McKelvey

And Alan Freed who coined the phrase “Rock and Roll”:

Photo credit:  Bruce McKelvey

Photo credit:  Bruce McKelvey

This was a fascinating tour that also included bits of Cleveland history along the way. Some of it is interspersed within this blog. But there is much more on this tour that isn’t in this blog. One of the more interesting things about Lake View Cemetery is a huge dam that was completed in 1978 on land donated by the cemetery. The dam was built to stop the flooding of Dugway Brook and University Circle.

Leaving the cemetery, we traveled through Little Italy with all of its wonderful restaurants and the savory smells of pizza strong in the air.

Our tour ended at Shooters On The Water where we enjoyed dinner, watching the bridge move up to allow a 1,000 foot Lake Erie Freighter to be towed out by the Tugboat, and reflections of the sunset on Cleveland’s downtown buildings, including the Terminal Tower. There was a blimp circling over the Cleveland Indian’s game that you can see in this photo.

Jim, our tour guide, was very knowledgeable having grown up in Cleveland. He was very inventive and entertaining also and we would go again with him.


A good Western Rodeo is one of our favorite things. Having lived in Wyoming for many years, we’ve attended both amateur and professional rodeos and are acquainted with both amateur and professional Rodeo Cowboys. Most Wyoming Rodeo Cowboys were raised on a ranch and/or live/own and work a ranch. They are the real deal!

Rodeo is exciting to watch as the Cowboys throw their ropes around a steer’s horns, ride a bucking bronc or a spinning bull. “Dally” is a term one learns when watching the roping as the Cowboy wraps the end of his rope around the horn on his saddle. 8 seconds goes by quickly in life, but on a bronc or bull it can seem like a lifetime. A rider is disqualified if he grabs ahold with both hands. One hand with the rope wrapped around it and the other hand in the air.

Rodeo Clowns are professional life-savers. When a bull throws a rider off, the Clowns immediately step in, putting their own lives in danger to distract the bull from the rider on the ground.

Bull Riding is toted at the most exciting event in Rodeo but it is also the most dangerous. Getting gored by a bull happens to both Cowboys and Clowns. Do not try this at home!

Oregon is as Western as any state out West, with ranches, cattle, horses and, yes, Cowboys. And Oregon has its share of Rodeos. This Saturday, September 22, is the Myrtle Point Challenge of Champions in Myrtle Point, Oregon. This is a Professional Bull Riders Rodeo held at the Coos County Fairgrounds in Myrtle Point.

Professional Bull Riders from all over the country participate in this event and include Cowboys ranging from PBR Qualifiers, NFR Qualifiers, Top Circuit Finals Qualifiers, to Collegiate and High School Finalists. This is the real deal! Many of the riders in this Saturday’s event are from Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

Doors to this exciting event open at 6:00 pm and the riding starts at 7:30 pm. Kids under 5 are free. You can purchase tickets here: https://www.aftontickets.com/dashboard for $14.00 or at the door for $17.00.

At www.umpquahaven.com, we are going to saddle up our vehicles and head south to Myrtle Point (not too far out of Coos Bay), watch some Rodeo and cheer on some Bull Rider Cowboys. Come join us for an authentic, exciting real West time!

The World Needs More Cowboys!

Surf’s Up!

When you think of surfing, you probably think of the beaches of California and Hawaii. If you’re of a certain age, you might think of Moondoggie and the Kahuna in the “Gidget” movies. But you probably don’t think of the beaches of Oregon as a place for prime ocean surfing.

On one of my first Oregon Coast adventures driving north up the coast, I stopped as I always do, at various sites along the way like Cape Perpetua and Cape Foulweather. At Foulweather, there are viewpoints and on the west side, there is a great view of the beach below. I was taken aback to discover surfers heading out in the water. 

I couldn’t have been more surprised. I had no idea that anyone surfed in the Pacific Northwest. The water temperature never gets above 55 degrees! But, these hardy surfers wear body suits that help to combat the cold Pacific Ocean Waters. Needless to say, I’ve never seen any silver-haired surfers. They are pretty much all young males. There are probably a few females among them but I have never seen any.

I wondered if they were courageous or just stupid. But, most anytime you see decent surf, there will be surfers. Sometimes they surf close to the jetties and that seems a bit frightening to me as they could easily be smashed into them. Now, surfers are a ‘normal’ site along the coast.

As I mentioned, most wear body suits but occasionally you will see one in just swimsuits. Ah, youth! For me it is akin to the Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day at Sunset Bay, but that is another story. Brrrrrrrrrr

In that tradition, this coming weekend holds a special surfing event at Agate Beach in Newport, Oregon. The Agate Beach Surf Classic runs from September 7 through September 9. Newport Parks and Rec, along with a few businesses and volunteers, sponsor this annual event at Agate Beach.

Volunteers are needed so if you’d like to volunteer, contact them through their website. Each volunteer will receive a T-shirt.

The online preregistration deadline is Wednesday, Sept 5, at a cost of $40.00 with cost of registration the day before events of $50.00. All proceeds go toward the Youth Scholarship Fund at Parks & Rec and benefit disadvantaged youth in Lincoln County so they can participate in a variety of programs. Packet Pickup is from 5 pm – 7 pm on Friday at Ossies Surf Shop.

Events on Saturday run from 8 am – 4 pm at Agate Beach and on Sunday from 8 am – 4 pm including the contest finals and awards ceremony all at Agate Beach.

There are a variety of events for all ages so be sure to check the website for that information: http://newportsurfclassic.com Space is limited, so get your bid in asap.

Umpqua River Haven is about 88 miles from Newport along the beautiful Oregon Coast. Stay with us and return home to your cozy RV at night. Or at least stop in and say hello on your way www.umpquahaven.com

The music on this video is California but the surf is pure Oregon Coast in winter!



Once a year, the State of Oregon offers free fishing for everyone where fishing, crabbing and clamming are permitted! 

No license, tag or endorsement is needed because the fishin’ is free! Catch limits and other restrictions do apply.

Hosted by the Oregon Department of Fishing and Wildlife (ODFW), Saturday September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd are both days where you can fish, crab and clam for free! This opportunity is for anywhere in Oregon fishing, crabbing and clamming are allowed—rivers, streams, lakes and ocean.

This is a great time to find a new, great fishing spot. Bring the family along as mom might enjoy it just as much as dad, and, it’s a great time to introduce children to fishing. While the boys love to fish with dad, don’t forget that the girls do also! Some of our happiest times were fishin’ with dad!

Don’t miss this weekend for great fishing and bringing home some Dungeness crabs and Oregon clams! Yummy feasting! Visit the Wells Creek Area on highway 38 on your way to the coast for some award-winning clam chowder at the Inn. Be sure to stop in and say hello to us at www.umpquahaven.com or stay the weekend in your RV. We would love to see you if we aren’t out fishing! Photo is from one of our family crabbin for Dungeness trips at the coast!


Oregon Blackberries

Blackberries here! Blackberries there! Blackberries everywhere! Blackberries grow wild in Oregon along with raspberries, salmonberries and huckleberries.

Oregon’s mild, wet climate is friendly to berry growing and blueberries and cranberries are big crops here. Blackberries and raspberries are also grown as crops. The blackberries are the largest in size and can be sweet and juicy. The wild berries have been harvested by the Pacific Northwest Native Americans for hundreds of years.

There are several different kinds of blackberries and the Marionberry is a cross between two of them. Marionberries were developed here in Oregon and make delicious jams and pies as do all the berries.

Here at Umpqua River Haven we are fringed by wild blackberries. They can sometimes over-grow and get out of hand but we manage to keep them pruned. Pruning also aids the production of fruit as it goes. It is a treat to be able to walk out in the yard and pick fresh blackberries to add to breakfast or for a treat any time. And then there is pie…..

Oregon celebrates Blackberries August 26 – 27 at the 2018 Blackberry Arts Festival in downtown Coos Bay. This event features local artist’s jewelry, crafts, photography and more and area vendors. The Blackberry Jam will again be presented by K-DOCK 92.9. The jam features local musicians and the Bay Area.

Don’t miss the South Coast Folk Society’s booth near So It Goes coffee house on 2nd and Central.

Witness the spectacle of
Saturday 1:45 by the stage and 2:15 by the booth

Live music by:
Saturday 3-4 and Sunday 11-1

and FINVARRA and the NOR’WESTERS  Sunday 1-3

Don’t miss this very Oregon weekend event!

If you are this way at the end of August, you can bunk your RV with us at www.umpquahaven.com for a quiet place to stay while you take in the Blackberry Arts Festival at Coos Bay, which is a short, 45-minute drive away. We just might let you pick your own blackberries, too.BlackberryPie

The Black River

Formed by the confluence of the West and East Branches of the Black River at Elyria, Ohio, the Canesadooharie River, once known as the Riviere en Gyrs, flows gently past Sheffield, Ohio and into Lorain, Ohio. The two named rivers were probably actually different rivers nearby.

It gets confusing because in the 1700s this river was known as both the Reneshoua River and la Riviere de la Cuiliere by early French and British explorers as the safest harboring spot along the ‘cliffs.’ These cliffs extended many miles along the Southern Lake Erie shoreline from here almost to the mouth of the Cuyahoga (the Crooked River). There were no beaches along the cliffs for landing even small boats and the cliffs were too steep and high to climb.

There is more convoluted history about this river involving falls, Native Americans, Col. James Smith who was captured by Native Americans, additional names and references to ‘black pearls.’ But most of it is conjecture and not confirmed as fact.

How the Black River got its name is unknown by historians although there is a hint that shale lined its banks and that was possibly the origin of this name.

Whatever that name origin, the river was home to Native American and eventually settlers. The 1800s started the development along this river into a major industrial area. The United States Steel Corporation lived here, and, the steamboat “Lexington” was constructed by the Black River Steamboats Association. Shipbuilding eventually evolved into the American Ship Building company producing the Great Lake vessels from 1818 to 1981. Additional industry was produced along this river including cement and the Ford Motor Company among others. Below is an abandoned industrial building.

As with the Cuyahoga, the Black River became polluted by industry. The industries died a slow death with steel surviving to this day as an industry and employer. But, the river has been revived with ecological renovations along its banks. Newer, better-retaining walls have been built with shelving for fish. This has produced the spawning of many varieties of native fish including the famous Lake Erie Yellow Perch, Walleye, varieties of Bass and others. Below is more abandoned industrial equipment.

The 4 miles of industrial banks of the river have been cleaned up in that the sludge has been moved back, away from the banks so the natural soil is exposed and producing native foliage and trees. This has brought in nesting eagles and Blue Heron. The double-breasted Canadian Cormorants have invaded here and are profuse in the upper river toward the end of the 4 miles. Their nests can be seen in the trees that become stripped, although not killed, by their very acidic droppings. And, large webbings of caterpillars cling to the tree branches.  Below you can see the sludge in the background and the reclaimed river bank in the foreground. Can you see the Blue Heron?

And here are the Cormorants.

 And Caterpillars!

This industrial-related boat is sunk to the bottom and has been abandoned for some time.

The Lorain Port Authority sponsors a variety of tours on the Black River. One of them is a Nature Tour that travels out to the Historic Lorain Lighthouse and then slowly back up the river with narration about the aforementioned details. Captain Ron has been piloting on the Great Lakes for 34 years, and on the Black River for several. He is very knowledgeable about the historical industrial sites, many of which left large structures behind. At the same time, Captain Ron can explain all of the ecological renovations and improvements along the 4 miles of riverbank. And, he knows all about the returning fish and waterfowl. It is a fascinating 2 and 1/2 hour tour about the come back of a very polluted Black River. Contact the Lorain Port Authority for details.

Thanks, Captain Ron!

While steel is still very much an industry in Lorain, it no longer pollutes the Black River as this abandoned complex can attest to.


Sandcastles at Lincoln City, Oregon

This weekend is the annual Sandcastle Contest at Lincoln City, Oregon.  This is a family, amateur event open to all ages. It is held in the Historic Taft District of Lincoln City off SW 51st Street. It is free to register but they are asking for a donation to the food pantry.

On Saturday, August 11, registration starts at 9:00 am. Judging will be at 2:00 pm. Only amateur entrants will be eligible for prizes. Only natural beach materials found on the beach during this day can be used. Forms and hand tools may be used in the making but forms ultimately cannot serve to support the finished entry. No power tools are permitted.

In the evening, S’mores will be toasted on the beach over a fire. Sunday will bring fun games and events. Come join in the fun of building a Sandcastle or just to watch.

Below is our blog post from the 2017 Sandcastle Competition at Cannon Beach just to give you an idea of the beautiful sand sculptures even amateurs can make.

Oregon has some of the most beautiful and vast beaches in the world. The shoreline in this Pacific Northwest State belongs to the people and every inch of it has public access. It is something Oregon has done exactly right.

To help celebrate Oregon’s beaches, there is an annual Sandcastle Contest held at Cannon Beach. The festival started in 1964 when a tsunami washed out the Elk Creek Bridge and the residents were somewhat isolated before a new bridge could be installed. So….that spring the local families got together for a Sandcastle Contest to entertain their children and to encourage visitors to the area. The Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest became one of the largest on the west coast and continues today.

Creativity is given free rein as there are no themes. Contestants can only use the sand in their area and not add to. Only natural materials found on the beach—sticks, shells, seaweed, etc—can be used. Nothing artificial and no paint of any kind. Competition is limited to 100. As this is a family event, no risqué entries are permitted and no alcohol is allowed. You can check out details at www.cannonbeach.org Umpqua River Haven is about 100 miles from Cannon Beach. Stop in and see us www.umpquahaven.com on your way or stay a spell before heading North along Oregon’s beautiful shore.

The Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest starts on Friday, June 16, with registration for competitors closing at noon. The festival runs all weekend. Oh, yes, and when the tide comes in all of this beautiful work washes into the beach again. Below are several entries from the 2013 contest.