Tuesday, December 12, 2006

King Estate and Fondue

It was a rainy day off and on but we braved the coolish and damp weather for a drive to the King Estate Winery in the Lorane Valley. The road to take is the Territorial highway, which runs parallel and west of to interstate 5. The King estate is very much like what a drive in Tuscany looks like in my mind.

Sir Coupe, Aunt Vivacious and Scrabble Queen stopped near the Estate entrance to let me take a picture.

So I took two pictures the first to get more of the building in the picture, then this one to get our subjects a little closer.

They had decorated the wine tasting and lunch area tastefully and with plenty of color. Notice the over-exposed ceiling light.

This is a little closer to the Mars looking shade. Okay, so this is my weird picture of the day.

We ordered some Oregonzola Fondue made with Melted Rogue Creamery Oregonzola cheese served warm, scattered with toasted walnuts and served with King Estate apple, pear and bread dippers. What a wonderful way to start a meal. Aunt Vivacious had a Pinot Noir and Sir Coupe had a Pinot Gris with the Fondue.

They also served warm breads like this black olive bread with olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar also great. We each had different luncheon meals. It was a very easy and comfortable lunch.

We had plenty of time to take in the ambiance and just relax.

Our server was extremely helpful and was able to server us perfectly without hovering or making us feel rushed. A nice young lady - Thank you for giving us a moment for this picture.

Outside the vineyard was beautiful covering the rolling hills of the estate.

A brief moment of sunshine was welcomed for this picture.

It was equally bright for this picture as well.

The side patio of the estate doubles as a nice outdoor eatery in the summer and from the looks of this fountain I suspect wine occasionally flows like water.

I liked the looks of this dormant vine on the stuccoed wall.

I really like the look of this reddish door, brown barrels and blue metal bands against the tan wall of the estate.

I also liked this door with the bench partially blocking entry.

It was an "old world" look in the Oregon hills.

Looking down the vineyard rows.

During the summer the King Estate hosts a farmer's Market at the building just beyond the vineyard.

One last view from another angle at this wonderful place. We all had a very good time.

Quote of the Day
"Wine is the healthiest and most health-giving of drinks."
--Louis Pasteur

Friday, December 08, 2006

Elk, Winchester Bay and Christmas Lights

It was an exciting day today. Scrabble Queen's Aunt Vivacious is visiting from the Lone Star State and we took a drive to the coast. On the way we stopped at the Roosevelt Elk Preserve. These Elk were named after Teddy Roosevelt the great conservationist.
"Roosevelt elk are sometimes known as Olympic elk and they are the largest of the big game animals. A mature bull may weigh as much as 1,000 pounds or even more, but on the average they will weigh much less. Both male and female elk have a dark-colored neck mane. Antlers of the males are heavy, and tend to rise straighter and with much less spread than antlers of the Rocky Mountain elk."

A very dedicated community fundraising effort helped to construct the O. H. Hinsdale Interpretive Center.

This all-weather shelter provides year-round viewing of the many species that live in the area as well as beautifully created interpretive displays like the one above.

We used the pullout area to view the Elk and eat lunch in the Musemobile.

The land which has become the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Preserve was purchased by The Bureau of Land Management in a land exchange in 1987. The Bureau, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a group of dedicated local citizens, built what has become a great place to learn about the wildlife in our area. This 1,095-acre parcel allowed us a wonderful opportunity to view the elk.

Our next destination was Winchester Bay

I noticed the Houseboat I used in an earlier blog was already "decked" out for Christmas and is still for sale.

The pilings in the bay used for moorings, I suppose, looked like they were floating in the sky. I guess in a way they were because the water reflected the sky very well. The interesting thing is how hard it is to tell where the piling stopped and the reflection began.

History of Winchester Bay
The area of the Winchester Bay was originally inhabited by the ancestors of the modern-day Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua (Kuitsh), and Siuslaw Indians. The sixteenth century brought contact between the local Native American Indians, Spanish, and British explorers. By the 1700s contact increased and by 1791 Lower Umpqua traded with ships that stopped at the mouth of the Umpqua River. Some of the first recorded contact between the Siuslaw and fur trappers from the Hudson'’s Bay Company occurred in 1826. Two years later, in 1828, conflict between the Lower Umpqua and fur trapper and explorer Jedediah Strong Smith resulted in the loss of many of Smith's company.

Fur trapping continued to grow in the area and in 1836 the Hudson'’s Bay Company established a trading fort, Fort Umpqua, upriver near the modern day town of Elkton. In addition to fur trapping, the gold rush brought more Euro-American settlers to the area. Winchester Bay was initially established as a trading point called West Umpqua. The town was established in 1850 and was named after Herman Winchester, a member of an expedition from San Francisco. Winchester served as the County Seat for Douglas County and the first meeting of the Douglas County Commission was held there in 1853. Due to popular vote, Winchester Bay lost their role as County Seat to Deer Creek or modern-day Roseburg in 1854 and many local businesses left Winchester Bay for Roseburg. Prominent industries throughout the 1900s included timber, agriculture, and fishing. Today tourism is increasingly becoming a prominent sector in Winchester Bay.

We pulled into the Mill Casino to hang out and later drive to see the Shore Acres Christmas lights only to find out the Casino had a special shuttle going out there at about 5:30 which was great since the road there is dark and windy and only 2 narrow lanes. Well the Musemobile was spared the trip and a nice very talkative driver took us to the lights.

And here we are at the gift shop starting our electric adventure on the Oregon coast, even though we never saw the ocean because of the dark. Well here we are isn't accurate none of us are in the picture so don't bust an eyeball looking.

The cedar trees behind the gift shop are huge and wonderfully lit in a faint amber color.

Some decorations are simply lights draped over shrubs and some in shapes of animals like this one of the whale
"A community tradition was born in 1987 when the Friends of Shore Acres decided to "string a few lights" to help celebrate the holidays. That first season, 6,000 miniature lights, one Christmas tree, and the decorated Garden House drew 9,000 visitors.

Now,more than a quarter million lights - both holiday and landscaping many Christmas trees, lighted sculptures, a new performance pavilion, and a beautifully decorated Garden House draw 40,000 to 60,000 visitors each season."

There were pelicans flying to the chimney of the Garden House which was trimmed beautifully

Looking back toward the Information Center/Giftshop was a great view.

Looking across the gardens you get some idea of all the lights.

A large group of visitors were singing carols in the Pavillion and did amazingly well.

Some of the lights are simple and yet graceful.

Others abeautifullyull arranged for maximum effect like those at the "Lily Pond" Japanese garden reflecting on the pond.

I especially liked the frog jumping over the pond. This is an animated series moving from one lit figure to another. I caught two of the frog figures in this image as well as their reflections.

This look across the lily pond could not be captured adequately in this or any of the other photos but it was the mospectacularlar of all the views.

My creative picture of the day was this one looking past the fountain near the center of the gardens.

I also got 4 dolphins if you consider the two 1/2 images as picture.

We took the shuttle back to the Casino for a nice buffet of seafood and other goodies. Then played a little feed the machines at the casino before checking aunt Vivacious into a room at the Casino's Hotel and retiring back to the RV.

No Scrabble because it was past Scrabble Queen's bedtime.

Today we saw Roosevelt Elk so it's fitting I quote Teddy Roosevelt in a statement that is most important we remember.

Quote of the Day ~
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." ~

"Teddy Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star"
May 7, 1918

Saturday, December 02, 2006

San Francisco and family

Today we went to San Francisco from Sacramento and a reminder of the East Coast TOLLS Yuck!

Across one bridge and then the Bay Bridge

We were greeted with smiles from "Retired Bowler" who was greeted with a picture from "Dyed in the Wool Cowboy".

I really liked library/web design studio at "Retired Bowler and Postal Woman's house
I enjoyed taking a picture of "Cowboy" in the mirror --oops and me to

We were on tourist time so we first drove to Twin Peaks overlooking San Francisco and the Bay and beyond. That IS Alcatraz in the bay.

...and there is the Golden Gate Bridge

\\\Tourists at work///

A really, really twisted tree in Golden Gate Park

Oh and of course American Bison -------- Yikes Buffalo

Then it was the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden, named in 1962 for the late queen of the Netherlands. Set against the Dutch Windmill, this garden offers visitors a wide variety of tulips and other annuals. Best viewing time occurs in early spring. Located on John F. Kennedy Drive, near Great Highway.

The Dutch Windmill was built in 1902 and was designed to pump irrigation water to a reservoir on Strawberry Hill. The windmill had fallen into disrepair until funds were raised and it was restored in 1981. No longer needed for irrigation, the windmill stands as a remembrance of the past.

There were no Tulips today but the site was beautiful with yellows renuculas standing in for the spring tulips.

Golden Gate Park is a great place to take a nice walk with someone you enjoy having in your life - well I had some of my family today.

The renuculas were a good substitute for the tulips.

Then it was lunch at the Beach Chalet Brewery.

The Beach Chalet opened to the public in 1925 with a lounge and changing rooms on the first floor, and a restaurant on the second providing diners with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. It was designed by the famous San Francisco architect Willis Polk. The beautiful murals, mosiacs and wood carvings were completed in 1936 as part of a federal works program. A few years later it was used as barracks for troops operating a nearby service station. Today, the building and it's art treasures welcome visitors from around the world to explore Golden Gate Park.

The Beach Chalet still serves it's original purpose as a public relations and dining facility. Heller Manus developed a renovation program for the landmark building. The ground floor visitor's center helps to orient visitors and demonstrate all that Golden Gate Park has to offer, as well as host the City Store,a nonprofit organization that sells unique San Francisco memorabilia. You will also be able to view an interpretive exhibit of the fresco murals, by Lucien Labault, which contain scenes of San Francisco during the Great Depression. They contain scenes familiar to San Francisco including The Embarcadrero, Fisherman's wharf, Baker Beach, Golden Gate Park, Land's End, the Marina, Downtown, and Chinatown. The woodcarvings, created by Michael Von Meyer, consist of an intricate balustrade with octopus newel posts, a sea monster, mermaids, hard hat divers, and old ships in honey colored magnolia. Upstairs handcrafted beer and American Bistro cuisine can be enjoyed with a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean.

The Visitors center was great with this sculpted handrail.

this marvelous (one of many fresco murals mentioned above)

I loved this tile image of the brave shooting the arrow in the direction of the rest rooms.

The entrance was a lovely blend of Early Spanish Architecture and Modern Bike Racks.

Oh yes and you can see the top of the Windmill from their parking lot.

Don't ask me about why these ocean rocks are white on the top, ask the birds that roost there.

Next we went to the Fisherman's Wharf and a closer view of Alcatraz

Of course there is the new "Oldtime Pier" shops

And a great view of two of San Francisco Landmarks Coit Tower and the Transamerica Building.

Coit Tower
Lillie Hitchcock Coit, philanthropist and admirer of the fire fighters at the 1906 earthquake fire, left funds to The City for beautification of San Francisco.

Those funds were used for the construction of the 210 ft. tall art deco Coit Tower at the top of Telegraph Hill. The towerÂ’s design is reminiscent of a fire hose nozzle and was quite controversial. The Golden Gate Bridge is another San Francisco landmark with an art deco design.
Transamerica Pyramid
The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest and most recognizable skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline.

Built on the location of the historic Montgomery Block, it has a structural height of 260 meters (853 feet) and contains 48 stories of retail and office space. Construction began in 1969 and finished in 1972.

Although it no longer houses the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation, it is still strongly associated with the company and is depicted in the company's logo. The building is evocative of San Francisco and has become one of the many symbols of the city. Designed by architect William Pereira.

From Fisherman's Wharf the view of the bay was spactacular.

Then one last look at Alcatraz which I think looks like a huge ship cruising the Bay.

or is this the ship cruising the bay with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Well I'm sleepy goodnight and don't forget to click the pictures for a larger view.


©Paul Viel