What a fast but fun 2 day mini vacation it was! It was myself, my daughter Chantel, granddaughter Emma and her friend Jordan on an all-girl trip! Woo Hoo! We needed to deliver the little girls to bible camp by 4 pm on Monday. We left around noon on Sunday so we would have some extra time to do something fun and spend the night. We had no idea what we were going to do or where but that was part of the fun.
As usual there were problems along the way! I had just gotten my brakes done a few days earlier and they were working fine until we left! We had just gotten a few miles out of town and had noticed a strange smell but had no idea it was coming from my car! I stopped for gas (good thing)and the inside of my drivers side wheel was SMOKING! It was so hot I thought it was going to burst into flames. I called my husband, who was at the Oregon coast and had just finished crabbing on our boat. He told me to go to his friends house which was probably another 5 miles north of the gas station and he would try to help us. So, off we went, hoping that the problem could be fixed...fast....and that we could get on our way!
His friends name is Bob Barker..no..I'm not kidding! He has a shop and he figured out the problem(brake caliper), got the part, fixed it and sent us on our way within an hour or so. Thank You, BOB!
So, we were off on our little adventure. We headed south on Interstate 5. We had no idea what we were going to do but we finally settled on Grants Pass, Oregon which is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from where we live. Along the way we stopped in Azalea and Glendale...where we used to live. We traveled the familiar roads and noticed that not much had changed in the area in the past 15 years. A few new houses here and there and that was it. Truthfully, I was happy to see that it hadn't changed much. I hope to retire there someday and I was happy to see it still had the rustic charm and old fashioned feel to the area. We took Emma into Glendale and pointed out her Mom's elementary and junior high school. She wasn't very excited by any of these things....just wanted to know how much longer until we got to Grants Pass. This area is so beautiful with lots of trees and mountains...it was nice to be somewhere different for a change! We made it into Grants Pass and started looking for a hotel. Chantel was set on staying on the Rogue River so we found a hotel downtown. Our room had a balcony overlooking the river. Very peaceful and pretty. We decided to take a jet boat ride on the river the next morning. We ate dinner at a little cafe next door that just happened to be in the same building as the ticket office for the Hellgate Jetboat Excursions. Bought our tickets for the lunch "cruise" set to leave at 9:30 am the next day.
Let's just say I had no idea what the experience on the boat would be. So we were there ready to go promptly at 9:30 a.m. We were waiting in line for the boats to line up since there were about 200 of us there. Each boat could hold up to 62 people. We had a little less than that in our boat. Emma and Jordan sat in front of us and Chantel and I sat together in the row directly behind them. We had a great driver named Rick and we rode on the Kelly Marie...all of the boats were named. There were life jackets for everyone but they weren't required. We were all warned that we could get wet along the way and told to protect our cameras.....I kept mine in a plastic bag and brought it out when it was "safe".
We took off slowly at the beginning and for the first few minutes Rick told us about the wildlife along the river and all the things we could expect to see along the way. We saw all kinds of wildlife...osprey,a bald eagle,several different kinds of duck,Canadian geese,a deer,a turtle and more I'm probably forgetting! It was a very peaceful ride but at the same time it was a very fun ride....like going to the amusement park! These boats literally float on top of the water (at 45-50 miles an hour!)so they are easy to maneuver and they like to "spin" them so you can get sprayed or doused with water. I have long hair and of course never thought to put it up or restrain it in any way. Big mistake!!! I was combing knots out of my hair all day....and there are still some hiding. If you are in the least vain...don't take this ride! I'm really not that vain and all I could keep saying was "look at my hair"!
Okay, enough about my hair. The setting for the lunch was so beautiful!They call it the OK Corral! A huge green lawn leading up to the massive log building. We had been on the boat for about an hour when we passed the location for our lunch and we went through Hellgate Canyon--it's a narrow passage with sheer rock cliffs. We turned around and went back when all the other boats arrived. We had been the first boat to leave and had to wait for the other boats to catch up to us so we could all unload at the dock at the same time. It was easier to feed us all at the same time and get us back onto the boats in an orderly fashion that way.
We had about an hour to spend eating lunch. The location is like a huge log pavilion. It is covered but open air with 3 large sections. Such a beautiful spot! We had to walk up the hill to get to it. That was not so much fun for me but I made it! There was a young girl singing live acoustic music that added to the whole experience. I can't remember her name but she was very good! Our table was set and ready for us. There were little plates of vegetables and black olives waiting. Then came the pitchers of lemonade, ice water and iced tea. Soon,they came around with a green salad, corn bread and drop biscuits(my favorite). Then it was barbecue chicken and au gratin potatoes. Dessert was a delicious Marionberry cobbler with REAL whipped cream. It was all very good!
We rode the tractor wagon back down the hill when it was time to leave because the girls wanted to take that ride too! I was fine with walking down but could have used the ride UP the hill!
We got back on the boat and headed back to Grants Pass. On the way up Rick had told us he was taking it easy on us because (according to his survey) the ladies don't like to get all wet before lunch so he promised us we'd get wetter on the way back and have some fun (he wasn't lying)! He spun the boat a few times and we rode across the wake from another jet boat a few times...basically racing them back to Grants Pass. I mostly covered my eyes and wouldn't look! I got really wet one time he spun the boat on our side. I was a little bit scared too! My pants were still wet after we got back home many hours later....from the water:)
Still, I have to recommend this to any one who will be in the area for a visit or passing through. It was a lot of fun and I think we're going to go on the dinner trip and bring the menfolk before summer is over!
We had a little time to spare before we dropped the girls off at camp so we took them on Upper Cow Creek Road east of Azalea to Galesville Reservoir and they swam for about an hour. It's very peaceful there and is still virtually unknown. It hasn't changed much since we moved but it looked like they had finally started building the camp ground we heard was going to be built over 15 years ago! It was always a great place to boat and fish when we lived nearby. I sure miss the area....so pristine and beautiful! We used to have a herd of elk that would roam through our back yard. My husband loved to hunt deer in the area. We used to fish all the time. Life was very simple then. Oh....how I miss it!
We dropped off the girls at camp in Glendale on our way home at about 4 pm. They checked in, unloaded all their stuff and moved into their cabin. Of course, Emma wanted the top bunk so Jordon got the lower bunk. Their cabin host was a teenage girl with guitar in tow so I think they'll have some fun with her. I hope they are having a good time. It's hard to leave Emma for so long! It's probably good to let go a little bit.....
Chantel and I continued home. We were both very tired but looking forward to doing it all again sometime soon.