Our Dogs

 Murph and Casey

In our 22 years of marriage, Jeff and I have adopted 3 rescued dogs.

On January 23rd 2005 we took Casey home from Save the Animals Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a rambunctious 6 month-old brindled Australian Cattle Dog-Boxer mix with a cropped tail found roaming the streets of Blue Ash, a northern suburb of the city. He was a perfect fit for our lifestyle as we relished long walks and jogging.

In 2006 I was time-sharing a position as a teacher-librarian at Whittier Elementary on the West Side of Cincinnati.  Arriving at school one morning, a beagle dog kept wandering into the building. I thought nothing of this until, between classes, I stepped out into the hallway and saw the visiting Speech-Therapist with a bad knee limping toward me carrying the very same beagle. Apparently someone called the SPCA and before they arrived she took our visiting beagle and hid the dog with her in her car. “I can’t take her home with me but I don’t want her put to sleep in a shelter.” So I took the dog into the library with me, much to the delight of my kindergarten, first, and second grade classes. A few children claimed the dog as their own, but when I called parents, I found out this beagle was a loose dog in the neighborhood. I finally called Jeff, who was recovering from ankle surgery, and asked him to come by and pick up the dog.  We named her Sadie and she lived with us for about 4 years until she got loose and got run over chasing a rabbit on Johnson Road in Dent, Ohio.

Several months after Sadie’s passing we adopted Murph, a 6 year-old schnauzer mix rescued from an abandoned house in Indiana. His first adoptive parents were RVers and felt bad confining him. And then his dad discovered he was allergic to the little guy.

Ironically 5 years later, Murph was an RVer once again. I retired from teaching, Jeff and I sold our house, and we became full-time RVers on August 31, 2015.

Casey and Murph were 11 years-old.  (We picked July 4th for their shared birthday to symbolize their new lives in a forever home, free from roaming the streets or living in a shelter.)

Surprisingly life on the road suited them perfectly. They could no longer manage long walks and enjoyed car rides and chilling out.

Our 2 furry children have traveled across the United States with us and have experienced the smells and set their paws on a diverse variety of habitats: mountains, beaches, deserts, prairies, forests, lakes, rivers, and plains.


Casey and Murph greeting us at the door to our RV…

Casey at the helm…

Chillin’…

You talkin’ ‘bout me?…

Quenching and eating…

Casey’s favorite seat on the road…

It’s Murph’s turn to drive…

Casey relaxes on the couch…

Murph arranges himself between the pillow and blanket on the bed…

Rise and shine!…

Murph and his pillows…

Besides eating, Casey loves to sleep…

Murph’s new haircut…


In July Murph stopped eating, not that this was too uncommon, as he did not have a huge appetite anyway. Then he started yelping when we moved him or picked him up and moaning when he laid around.

The Vet could find nothing specifically wrong and prescribed a strong aspirin-like medication. We learned how to pick him up without hurting him. Three weeks later  Murph was not getting better and his prescription needed refilling. Jeff had to feed him by hand and carry him up and down the RV steps.

We returned to the Vet. She did some blood tests and prescribed a medicine humans take to relieve nerve pain. Taken twice a day, the Gabapentin made Murph very drowsy. He was barely eating and Jeff had to bring him a small bowl of water to get him to drink.

On August 3rd we went to a different Vet for a second opinion. She did blood work and took x-rays and concluded that Murph had liver cancer. With her input and advice we decided to take Murph home and give him a last few loving days of car rides, ice cream, and snuggles. We made a last appointment for August 7th.


Tuesday was a very sad day for our little family of four as we drove to Coquille to say goodbye to Murph and to end his pain.

We were taken to a very beautiful room where Jeff, Casey, and I gave kisses and love to our little guy. (Casey licked Murph’s face a few times.)

I held him in my arms while he received an injection of sedation medicine and surrendered to its relaxing effects. Murph was at peace. And that’s how we left him, as we chose not to witness the final intravenous dose.

You are greatly missed Murph-Murph, Murphy, Moiff, Mr. Murph, Poodley Boy, Murphy Magoo… I know you loved us and I hope you know how much we loved you. 🐾💔

Cape Blanco to Blacklock Point

Finally!

After several attempts driving to Cape Blanco to access the northern beach and walk from the Lighthouse to Blacklock Point, we finally succeed. Today is not foggy, windy, or cold.  And the tide is low.

We park outside of the gate leading to the Lighthouse and descend onto the beach.

Waves crash over boulders on the shore, painting them shiny black.

About an hour later we approach the southern side of Blacklock Point and make our way through the green, red, orange, and gray rocks.

High tides from winter leave piles of driftwood atop ridges of sand.

A whimsical driftwood hut has lost its roof.

Strong winds and waves wedge this large piece of wood into these boulders on the beach. Oh, did I forget to mention that this photo is facing east?

There’s the ocean peaking through. And look, the fog is rolling in.

We climb a grassy dune scattered with driftwood…

…and descend onto another rocky beach.

A path leads up to higher ground.

The deep crack in a rock resembles an upside down letter V.

The fog thickens and obscures Blacklock’s ledge of rugged rocks jutting out to sea.

Coming down the path we encounter a grandfather, his 3 grandchildren, and 2 dogs. The kids romp on the beach.

And we head back.

A sand slide!

The sea gets choppier.

The sky blends into the ocean.

The Sixes River pools into a lake.

The mouth of the river no longer reaches the Pacific.

Seagulls…

A clump of kelp…

Two and a half hours later we are back where we began, on the beach beneath the lighthouse. Trust me, Cape Blanco Lighthouse is there, buried in the fog.

Starry Starry Morning…

Minus Tide on Battle Rock Beach: A Photo Exhibition


The stars of the show: A series


a collection of co-stars: collages with anemones


So many starfish… so amazing


Seize the Size


mosaics on the rocks


I spy Starfish…


Anemones, barnacles, and snails… sigh


Snail Crossing


She sees Seagulls on the seashore


Swept ashore: a still life of starfish, snails, and chiton


Blowing beautiful bubbles on the beach


I’ve looked at clouds…

And fog…

from all sides…

Now…


Moseying through the mouth of Hubbard Creek

REACHING OUT TO THE ROCK

The ides of tides


REVELATIONS: REVEALING UNREVEALED ROCKS

A visceral victim: 2 Vultures and A washed-up sea lion


4 swept up starfish sitting in the sun: souvenirs


A Rainbow rings the sun: our walk is done

More Beach Bumming

My Favorite Moments

Battle Rock Beach June 22nd

Ripples of sand…

Tidal pools…

Sea anemones…

On the rocks…

Redfish Rocks…

Hubbard Creek changes channels to the sea…

Washed up…

Black Oyster Catchers…

Rooted in the sand…


Paradise point/Agate Beach June 26th… HAppy birthday, dad. You would have been 92 Years old. ❤

It’s a w-i-n-d-y day!

This colorful little beetle blows away after I take its picture…

As we continue walking south along the beach our backs are pelted by the tiny pebbles carried by the wind. Ouch! The only bums bumming along the shore are us…


Battle Rock beach again July 7th

Bundles of bull kelp…

Navigating the waves…

Notice the sailboat in the photo above and Redfish Rocks in the photo below.

And now I capture them both in the same photo…

Pecking order… Fresh crab…

Snail shells and other stuff stuck on sea rocks…

Hubbard Creek and Humbug Mountain…

Serious sand sculpting …

Blue skies, evergreens, sandy cliffs, and pink flowers…


Tseriadun State Park/Agate Beach July 10th

Blackberries…

Yummily tart to the taste…

Live crab…

Tidal pools…

A starfish mosaic created by the wind…

Port Orford Heads…

“Mussel Beach”…

Splish splash…

Agate hunters…

Humbug Mountain Beach

Searching for Coal Point

Yesterday we explored the beach from Rocky Point south to the waterfall. Today we drive further south to the Humbug Mountain Trailhead to walk north along the beach toward Coal Point.

So, instead of heading up the mountain trail, we take a detour under Highway 101…

….leading to Humbug Mountain State Park Campground.

We take the campground road leading to the beach trailhead that weaves back under the highway again.

Brush Creek runs parallel to the trail before merging into the Pacific Ocean.

Jeff finds a driftwood log to test his balance on.

The waves swell and crash onto shore.

Redfish Rocks…

I look north toward Rocky Point wondering if the far cliff to the left is Coal Point. Highway 101 winds through the mist above.

We walk to the group of rocks on the the shoreline, seen in the picture above. High tides bash them and low tides flow through them…

…creating a perfect habitat for the clinging colonies of barnacles, bivalves, sea anemones, seashells, and snails.

My skin still crawls when I come across these beehives of sea life. Yet, I am always amazed and fascinated and can’t stop taking pictures.

Meanwhile we continue walking north until the sandy beach becomes a rocky shore.

We abort our mission to find Coal Point and turn around, heading back toward Humbug Mountain.

Cool moments along the way…

Brush Creek hops, skips, and jumps into the Pacific Ocean.

Redfish Rocks, seagulls, and the creek carving a channel through the sand…

The creek hugging the side of Humbug Mountain…

…as we follow it back through the sand dunes and under the road again.

Rocky Point

Redfish Rocks… Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Area

Shortly after arriving in Port Orford for our 3rd consecutive summer, Jeff and I start looking for volunteer opportunities in the community. On the local radio station I hear about the need for interpretive rangers, a volunteer position to provide awareness and information about the 2.7 square mile Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and the Marine Protected Area that extends another 5 square miles beyond. On May 31st I attend the first training session. (But I will share the rest of this story in a future post…)

Today Jeff and I just want to check out the beach along the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve. According to the map, the Reserve extends between Rocky Point to the north and Coal Point to the south.


We drive south on 101 past Battle Rock Beach and look for an unmarked road that takes a jack knife turn down to a trailhead.

Below is a picture taken from the small parking area showing the road leading back up to the highway.

The trailhead down to the beach explains the no fishing restrictions. Clamming, however is permitted above the low tide line, as is beachcombing.

Before taking the trail down to the beach, however, we notice another trail across the guard rail in the parking area. So we explore this first.

This path turns out to be a scenic spur overlooking Rocky Point.

We’ve arrive at low tide. Notice how far the rocks extend beyond the sandy beach… In the distance some of the rocks of the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve are visible through the haze.

I take a picture looking north toward Hubbard Creek and Battle Rock Beach.

To the south is Coal Point and Humbug Mountain.

We turn around and head back to the trailhead after deciding not to climb down to the beach from this cliff wearing our old sneakers.

And now we walk down to beach on the proper trail…

Can you see the red spot in the center of the photo below?

Here it is close up a few seconds later…

Another short jaunt…

And the ocean appears…

But to get to the beach, aptly named rocky, we have to climb over driftwood.

As we make our way through the driftwood jungle, I stop and take a picture of the Redfish Rocks.

We descend onto the rocky shoreline and discover tidal pools.

The tide has been out for awhile and there is no interesting sealife to observe.

The rocks reach way out to the sea.

And greet us every step of the way.

We head south and arrive at a l-o-o-o-o-o-ng piece of driftwood.  There’s Jeff standing at the far end.

And here is a view of the same long piece of driftwood taken from the scenic spur above.

As we continue walking south along the shoreline, the rocks on the beach get larger.

And the cliffs overhead show the uplifted stratified rock caused by the lifting of tectonic plates.

Below the cliffs, the shoreline rocks erode into grooves creating highways leading to the sea.

Meanwhile we continue heading south scrambling through the rocks and stepping over tidal pools.

Then I spy a long piece of bull kelp draped dramatically around some larger rocks.

Some powerful waves must have pushed this piece of driftwood ashore.

In the haze, Highway 101 runs across the top of the cliff.

Suddenly a waterfall appears.

And it gurgles its way to the sea.

We turn around and walk back, discovering works of art created by Mother Nature. Checkout this mixed-texture collage below…

Sand collects under crevices in the rocks while seaweed, fresh and old, sunbathes over a piece of driftwood. The yellowed kelp reminds me of a tattered garment.

I can’t think of an appropriate title to name it. Maybe you have one?

The artwork below is titled Kingdom of Cousin Itt.

The fog is lifting and you can see the 6 rocks of the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve. Usually only 5 are visible.

Below, Highway 101 cuts through the cliffs. It’s still quite hazy to the north. This stretch of the shoreline is less rocky.

But notice the large boulders covered with green lichen on the left side of the photo.

As we pass, I take a close-up shot of the limpet shells and barnacles attached like glue inside the crease of the rock.

And here’s the same picture a few feet away…

We are almost back to the driftwood jungle leading up to the trailhead. I get a good close-up of the Redfish Rocks and the low tide line.

This looks like the spot we need to climb through to reach the trail.

As I stand tall on a pile of driftwood, I take 2 more pictures.

Looking north…

And looking south…

On the far right you can see 2 of the 6 Redfish Rocks.


We return 5 days later to View Rocky Point during high tide.

Here are my photos comparing Rocky Point during low tide and high tide…


Low tide

High tide


Low tide

High tide


Low tide

High tide

…pretty amazing!

Cape Blanco Part Two

North of the Lighthouse

We park the car in a grassy turnout,  across from the road leading to the Cape Blanco State Park Campground, and enter the North trails trailhead. It’s 11:30 in the morning.

Today we plan on hiking to the mouth of the Sixes River and then return along the beach just below the Lighthouse.

So, it’s over the meadow and through the woods, with viewpoints of the beach below along the way… the same beach on which we will return.

Can you find the Cape Blanco Lighthouse in the picture below?

Somewhere out there is the mouth of the Sixes River. The promontory jutting out to sea is Blacklock Point.

We return to the trail…

The tree below demonstrates how wickedly the winds blast through here.

Another short spur with an ocean view…

The pine forest greets us with a colorful display…

Jeff finds an unusual rock sitting on tree limbs…

We continue through the forest…

It’s 12:00 when we head toward the Sixes River…

Foxgloves are blooming…

We reach the Castle Beach Trailhead at 12:30. Free range cows graze here but we don’t see any as we make our way to the ocean.

Ten minutes later…

There’s Cape Blanco in the distance below. Can you find the Lighthouse?

Castle Rock and the mouth of the Sixes River are further north. We make our way through the driftwood-littered beach to see them up close.

We turn around and walk south along the beach toward the Lighthouse.

I take pictures of the amazing beach landscapes we encounter, far and near…

Note the rocks in the foreground below.

Now share my amazement of the same rocks, close up…

A mosaic of “glued” shells, barnacles, and smaller rocks…

I try to pry loose some limpet shells but they are unwilling.

Sprays from crashing waves…

And where did this come from?

Barnacles still line its crevices…

And challenge Jeff to climb…

It’s 1:00 now. The beach is mellow today, the winds are calm.

Sometimes we walk through a Zen-like garden of rocks and rippled sand…

And sometimes we crush through a colorful rough patch of sea stones waiting to be discovered…

I look up and recognize the forest…

The rocks below are covered with old barnacles and mussels that fascinate me and gross me out at the same time…

I look up and recognize the meadow…

The Lighthouse and a haystack rock…

The Lighthouse focuses into view…

Kelp attached to barnacles, or barnacles attached to kelp…?

Sea foam..

Kelp or seaweed? Or both?

Both…

Catching surf perch…

The Lighthouse looms closer overhead…

We approach the trail leading from the beach back up to the Lighthouse gate…

Can you see where all the barnacles and shells cling to the rocks below?

A tangle of mussel shells attached to kelp…

The rocks below are a beautiful shade of green…

At 1:35 we recognize the driftwood entrance to the trail leading up to the Lighthouse gate…

We walk another 1/4 mile along the road to our parked car.


Some rocks and shells… including an agate, a tiny sand dollar, and blue sea glass.

Jeff posts the Oregon painted rock on Facebook but takes it down after he is deluged with comments.

He decides to hide it again…