Tag Archives: Oregon

Safe at Home

We wound up cutting our vacation short by one day. It took so long to get to Lincoln City, that my brother-in-law wanted to break his travel into two days. He has four more hours after we got home.

I actually parked with nothing but fuel vapors left in my tank. I'm hoping I have enough left to deliver the camper about ten blocks away and get to the gas station without running completely empty.

It's kind of a bummer to cut a day off the trip, but I admit it is a marathon drive. We came back through Bend this time. I always liked Sisters and Bend, and love looking at the volcanos as we drive along.

Otto was so happy to get home that he ran crazy circles around the living room. He also ran them again in his back yard. He doesn't know it yet, but he's getting a bath today. I'll try to post another Otto video on Facebook in a few minutes.

This vacation is all about point of view. I could dwell on the blown tire, and the lost day, but choose not to.

We caught enough crab one day for a nice cookout. We got to watch whales right off the beach. On our last day we went to the big aquarium, and the giant pacific octopus was out in full view this time. If I can figure out how to resize a photo, I may make a cool jellyfish into my August wallpaper. He's just strange enough to fit in around here.

I got a great short story idea, and it fits my Macabre Macaroni theme too. I just don't know if I can make it short enough for a blog post.

The weather was great for the Oregon Coast. I thought the morning fog was awesome, and it reminded me of how I came up with the character of Jason Fogg. Jason has another story in my new Notebook, if you are a fan of his.

I even got a kick out of the early morning coffee runs with my daughter. Everyone else was asleep, and we grabbed her coffee and parked so she could catch Pokemon. I know it's a super popular game, but this one looks pretty fun.

We ate some great seafood and it seems like every place touts itself as having the best chowder. For my money, the Pelican Brewing spot in Cannon Beach does. We drank some great local beer too. I love the craft brew movement, and seeing what's local is part of the fun.

My wife and sister-in-law made an appointment with a glass blower on Thursday. They each got to blow and shape their own candy bowl. I, naturally, had to watch the dog. My daughter got some interesting videos of the process, but I can't share them. I try to keep my family somewhat anonymous online.

I'm kind of bummed about missing the glass blowing. The main character, Cobby, from The Cock of the South started life as a glass blower. I know it's backwards to call it research, but I would have liked to watch. At least there is video.

Everyone is gone now. The in-laws left at six AM. My daughter went to Sun Valley to visit friends almost immediately after we got home. Apparently, eight hours in the car wasn't enough for her. It all has the taste of, “Thanks for the free vacation, see ya!”

My wife is still asleep. Otto is sacked out on the couch, and I am barely awake. Today will be all about getting the camper cleaned up and put away. Then there are bills, mountains of bills.

With the end of the month looming, it's time to put the final touches to the second Experimental Notebook and send it to the formatter. There are still a few beta copies out, and I hope to hear from those readers in time. This is the first time I've used a formatter, and set an absolute date for publication. This means I have to live with deadlines.

I've also been a bad blog friend. I managed to read a few, but my comments were minimal. I'll spend some time today trying to catch up, but probably won't get to everyone. Sometimes you just have to go on vacation.

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Hi from the road

Internet service is pretty sketchy here. I'm trying to read blogs and do brief updates, but it isn't very cooperative.

 

Yesterday involved lots of shopping, and I volunteered to watch Otto. We hung around camp, and worked on a short story.

 

Today we went crabbing again. The license is only good for three days, and today is the last day. My brother-in-law and I found a nice dock, a six-pack of good beer (Full Sail Amber Ale) and had at it. Our view looked like this:

The ladies went shopping again. My wife bought a pretty myrtle wood cutting board. Myrtle is a cottage industry along the Oregon Coast. It's leaves can be used like bay leaves, and it even makes a nice perfume. The wood is really pretty.

Crabbing was lousy, depending on your point of view. We didn't catch anything but dungeness, which is good. The bad part was none of them were big enough to keep. There is a size limit. At one point we hauled out 14 in one ring.

This is what a crab ring looks like, with a couple of crabs in it.

Still had a great time.

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More touristy stuff

My brother-in-law had foot surgery right before our vacation. He was hurting, and it looked like we might stick around the campground. It was suggested that he might be able to rest his foot just as well if we went crabbing.

While everyone got ready, my daughter and I made a coffee and breakfast run. We pulled over at a beach that is a Poke-stop so she could collect a half dozen Pokemon before we went back to camp.

My brother-in-law and I drove through Depot Bay, and the resident pod of California Gray Whales were putting on a show. The girls all went to the outlet mall, so we called them. My daughter really wanted to spot a whale, so they drove the twenty miles to find us. They got to see them too.

We shot a ton of photos and videos, but they were all on my iPhone. That means dubious quality. I loaded one extremely short video on my Facebook page. These guys were right offshore, and in my younger days, I might have been able to throw a rock that far. We saw a lot of spouts, a few tails, and a lot of backs. That's kind of what you get with whales.

Just to prove they were there, here is one spout photo:

It really is the wrong time of year for crabbing. We knew that, but there are always a few around. We must have caught over a hundred, but they either fell under the size limit, or were females. You have to throw them back. Those limits are for Dungeness crab though, and not red rock crabs. We wound up with seven red rocks.

There isn't much meat on a red rock crab, but enough of them can make a meal. We have four adults who will eat crab. (It's my daughter, before anyone asks.) By adding a few steaks, and some salads and corn, we had a nice surf and turf under our awning last night.

Here's Otto proving we actually caught Dungeness crabs too. They were just tiny ones.

This is the same green platter as the photo from last year, but the red rock crabs are from last night's dinner.

Having a great time. Hope all of you are having a great week too.

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Just a few photos

I'm not going to try to be entertaining or informative. We decided to head north today. This involved the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and Cannon Beach. I've been to the cheese place before, and the crowds are huge. I decided to wait outside with Otto. We had a nice walk and a cup of coffee. My wife brought me a great ham and cheese grilled sandwich and some tater tots, which I shared with Otto. The view from outside.

Pelican Brewing opened a new brewery in Cannon Beach. They are supposed to have one of the best bowls of clam chowder on the coast, and my wife wanted to try it. It wound up being a 45 minute wait for an outside table. We took Otto to a dog park right along the main drag, and right across the street from the brewery.

The ladies went shopping while my brother-in-law and I held our place in line. This is our natural role in life. My brother-in-law bought me a pint of porter while we waited, and it was wonderful. I may have bent the rules a little by having it on the sidewalk. You just can't lock a puppy in a hot car and leave him.

Fortunately, Pelican Brewing, and most of Oregon, is dog friendly. We had to sit outside, but the chowder lived up to its reputation. I like to sample the beers, and had a great Scottish ale with my chowder. I love the name too; MacPelican.

Otto had a blast with all the other dogs around, and the people all became big fans too. Some stopped us on the street and asked for photos. He attracts the paparazzi now.

After our lunch/dinner, we decided to go to the beach. Cannon Beach is where they filmed part of The Goonies. It's where the One Eyed Willy rocks are. I posted that shot last year, so I'll save you from another image of the rocks.

Otto loves water, and the surf was no exception.

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We made it

Eleven hours on the road, and we're finally on the coast. It's about a seven plus hour drive, but that isn't the way it works. With the camper, I needed to stop for fuel every time I had the chance.

Otto needed walked, people needed food, and there was construction. Eight hour drive becomes a nine hour drive. Then there was the blowout.

My brother-in-law blew a tire on his camper. The blast took the fender and atomized it.

Look, Ma, no fender.

This also required us to find a Les Schwab, and get a new tire. Fortunately, my daughter has very good Google-fu skills, and we were five minutes from the tire store. His tires were from Les Schwab originally, and they replaced and mounted it for free under warranty.

Camp isn't exactly what I'm used to either. This is a private campground, so they shoehorn as many people as possible into the available acreage. This makes the campground more profitable.

At this point, I'm happy to not be driving. Otto is happy to be out of the truck, and he and I are blogging under the awning.

The ladies all went to town to get Otto yet another harness. He outgrew his old one in a week. We bought him this green one in the photo, but it's for a much longer dog. A German shepherd might fit into it well. Otto is big enough around, but not long enough. It hurts him too. Therefore, they went to find one like his original, but in a larger size.

I'm sure tonight will be a beer and hot dog kind of night, and I'm fine with that. After the five-lane, white-knuckle drive through Portland, as long as I don't have to drive I'm good.

 

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Tomorrow is the big day

We leave for vacation tomorrow. We’re taking a bunch of family members with us, so that will be an adventure.

Most of the day was spent hooking up campers, and making sure we have enough puppy food. We;re still getting clothes rounded up.

I did some dog watching today while the ladies went to the store. My in- laws are taking their dog along too. She’s a hundred year old Lhasa-Apso. This is her:

This is all she does. She gets carried to eat, drink, poop, etc.

She and Otto are not a good mix. He just wants to play, all the time. She isn’t much for playing.

I foresee one of those Chevy Chase Vacation moments in our future involving the dogs.

I loaded my crab ring, even though it isn’t the best time of year. We might not get any dungeness, but the red rock crabs are always around.

This is a picture from last year’s crab cookout:

Two gigantic Dungeness crabs and a pile of red rock crabs. My wife and I ate ourselves into a stupor. I don’t expect to do as well this year, but we’re trying it anyway.

I checked the tides, and the best tide of the month was yesterday. They won’t be good for clam digging the rest of this month. We haven’t caught a good clamming tide in years, due to our poor planning.

If nothing else, we may have to buy our fresh seafood, but we’ll be in a place where we can. There are also a ton of new breweries in this area, and that could be fun too.

We don’t have a plan. We don’t have a schedule. We’re just taking each day as it comes, and trying to have a good time.

I’m taking my iPad and phone with me. I’ll try to read some blogs, and might post a photo. I may even get an evening to update this blog, but I’m not making any promises.

Have fun everyone. I know I will.

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In my element

We went back to Newport for the day. The old dock area is pretty fun, with an active fishing industry, pubs, and cute shops. Old What’s Her Face* bought a tee shirt that says “Goonies never say die.” She and our daughter hit the shops.

I’ve written many posts about how I love fishing, foraging, and even hunting. Being at the ocean is a rare opportunity for me, and I took full advantage of it. I’ll probably skip clamming, because it takes a day or two to purge them of sand. We don’t have enough days left for that.

I scored an old fish head, and headed for the public dock. I only own one crab ring, but am allowed to fish with three. I’d show you a photo of the crab ring, but WiFi is being pretty wonky here.

We are allowed to catch either sex of red rock crab, and only male Dungeness over 5 3/4 inches across the carapace. The red rocks remind me of stone crab. They have huge claws, and even have black tips on them. The resemblance ends there, because they are brilliant red. I caught a few with no claws, and suspect someone snapped them off before returning them to the sea. (Illegal, but the claws will grow back.)

I hauled in several nets with multiple small and/or female Dungeness. The tide turned, and all the other fishermen left. I stuck it out, because the girls were shopping anyway. I wound up with the Mac Daddy of all Dungeness crabs, then I brought in his brother.

I am allowed 24 red rock crabs, and 12 legal Dungeness. Even Old What’s Her Face can’t eat that much crab. I brought home eight of the little guys, and my two giant Dungeness crabs.

Dinner is on me!

Add one ear of corn each, skipped the potatoes. There isn’t much left. (Okay, there isn’t any left.) my daughter doesn’t eat anything much more exciting than Mac & Cheese, or a hamburger. My wife and I put this all away.

I stopped back by the brewery from night one and bought my friend a jar of mustard he requested. It’s right beside the road on the way home. My daughter liked their blackberry cider, and we bought her a growler of that.

Cracking open an Alaskan Pumpkin Ale and getting ready to actually watch Goonies. Have a nice evening everyone.

* Not actually the name on our marriage license.

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I am such a tourist

We stuck both North and South of Lincoln City today. I don't know what it is about Oregon, but they don't seem very original here. We drove through Salem, Dallas, Detroit, and now we're in Lincoln County. They also have a Portland here. They need one of the fantasy authors to send them some original names.

We went to the aquarium in Newport. We went there years ago, but it's always fun. I wound up with a tee shirt that has a big octopus on it, because I'm a tourist. Here are some snaps.

I was too short to make my beard stick out.

I took quite a few photos, but won't bore you with more than a few.

Fly my minions, and turn everyone into zombies.

We hit the Tillamook cheese factory to the north of Lincoln City. We ate so much grilled cheese stuff, I may need to visit the bran factory tomorrow.

I'd love to get an interview with Bigfoot for this blog. He isn't responding to my emails… Yet.

Tomorrow we are heading for Astoria. My wife is a huge Goonies fan, and wants to see where it was filmed. Maybe she can order some Rocky Road ice cream while she's there. The girls went to the factory outlet mall, and I stayed behind to update the old blog. They promised to scope out someplace that sells chowder and craft beer.

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S’pose I ought to post something

I go on vacation for nearly three weeks, starting Friday. This gave me a little bit of time to get the camper ready, and maybe move a couple of projects forward before we head out. I also get a bit of time after we get back home.

I'm getting company next weekend. It's never failed so far. My vacation time is like a company magnet. It doesn't matter, we always have a good time together. This is one of the reasons I stay non-committal about deadlines and such. Writing is my fun time, and I don't have to live by rigid performance deadlines. If it has to wait a week it can. I don't have a New York publisher breathing down my neck.

Here is my loose plan of what I want to accomplish. I'm going to participate in the Rave Reviews Book Club Back to School Book and Blog Party. (Who names this stuff?) this will take up one day of blog space in mid September. It looks like a good turnout of people exchanging support for our various projects.

I want to publish The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack in early September. I still haven't decided how I'm going to promote this one, but I should set up some relatively free stuff. I'll ponder on the idea and come up with a few things.

I decided to write posts for Macabre Macaroni again this year. This involved micro fiction I posted weekly during October last year. I debated its merit on this blog, and the feedback helped me make up my mind. If I'm doing it again, I might as well make it work for me. I'm going to figure out a way to make it part of my promotion for the Experimental Notebook. I already have a couple of the stories written.

I'm going to make a pretty big push for Will O' the Wisp in October. I booked a blog tour, and have all the posts written already. I decided to submit this one to a few more book reviewers too. I need to get on the stick if I'm going to time this before Halloween. Wisp is a natural for a Halloween push and I'm going to go for it. Reviewers need time to read it, so I'd better get moving.

I'll probably do most of the standard things, like cover reveal posts for the new book. I may do some guest spots here and there. Right now, I'm concentrating on the issues that must be planned ahead.

I'm still thinking about placing some more Amazon advertising. This is more about awareness than sales. You gamble with $100, but they normally don't spend it all. I think 19,000 people saw my ad last time, and it cost me about $18. I don't see that as a bad thing.

Every day involves baby steps toward these goals. If I keep doing a bit here and there it all gets done. It leaves me time for a trip to the coast, and a visit with company. If I wait until the last minute I get too stressed out.

I need to plan for other events too. I already have a post with Lisa about the upcoming book. I need to write another one about choosing which outline will become my next project. Then I need to spend some quality time with my current manuscript and edit it into something coherent. This will involve some time with Doubt the Raven.

I'm kind of surprising myself here. It's a lot to do, but I can manage it. After October I will prioritize editing my novel, and finishing the winning outline.

Here is a question for those of you who've tested a specific Amazon process. Is there any value in setting up my book of short stories as a pre-order? This involves publishing it using a specific date. Consumers can order it, but Amazon won't deliver it until the specific date. Presumably, you get credit for all the sales the day it gets delivered. It's a way to start off with a higher ranking, and hopefully stay there. This book will price at 99ยข, so people might take a chance. Let me ask it a different way. Is there any reason I should not set my book of short stories up with a pre-order time period?

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We’re Home again

It was a long drive across the desert today. Our old dog got sick while we were gone, and he’s peeing blood now. Of course it’s Labor Day today. He has to wait until tomorrow to see the vet. He’s been heading downhill over the last six months, and I’m worried about him. I’d take him to the vet right now, but they’re closed.

Oregon is full of tree hungers. It’s a big change for someone like me, but I tried to be polite to everyone. I stood in line for the restroom at Crater Lake. There was a sign that said, “We’re concerned about the environment. We’ve provided the hand dryer instead of paper towels.” I told this in story form to my wife and said, “So I blew my nose on the hand dryer.” (I didn’t really.)

A blonde tourist lady overheard me, and just cracked up. I started noticing all the Subarus in Oregon. It must be like the BMWs were to the yuppies twenty years ago. A Subaru is the tree hugger badge of honor. When we stopped at McDonald’s in Burns, the restroom had the same paper towel issue. In each case, the stalls were full, so I couldn’t get any toilet paper to blow my nose. This time, there wasn’t even a garbage can in the restroom. I sat my empty Skoal can on the floor where the garbage can usually stands. (Maybe they’ll get the hint.)

We both got a bit silly over the long drive. My wife said she could help me with driving, and that it was the fellowship of our quest. I told her the burden fell to me, and only I can see it through. I told her to order me a “Royal With Cheese” for lunch. She didn’t get it and must have missed that one while I was doing Quentin Tarantino research for a writing project. (We may be watching too many movies.)

Gasoline in Oregon was both sides of $4.00 per gallon. I’m fairly sure it’s because of a state law requiring gas pump attendants, and not allowing for self service stations. This is a law I’m in favor of. The kids around here don’t get to start working until they turn eighteen. I think a shift pumping gas at sixteen or so would do most of them a world of good. Everyone has to start somewhere, and having something they are qualified for seems like a good thing.

I’m behind on all my writing now, but that’s okay. I owe someone something for a blog appearance I committed to, and I have a micro fiction project I need to get to. I’ll make those priorities. Then I have to work through my critiques on Will ‘O the Wisp. I also need to get on with the editing of The Cock of the South. I might wind up with cover art before the story is ready. That isn’t a problem, it’s just different.

All told, it was a pretty fun trip. There are things that got neglected and, except for the dog, they were all considered. We had a nice time and did some fun things along the way. It’s time to get back in the swing and catch up where we fell behind. I’m off to finally blow my nose, then I have to pay some bills.

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