Bloggers in Southern Oregon

The unparalleled view from the deck at Curt & Peggy’s place.
Here’s a zoomed-in shot to highlight the roses and the mountains.

Recently I talked with a blogger friend, Jolandi, about how much we appreciate our blogging community. It comes up often among bloggers, in my experience. We have likely all heard stories of how bloggers actually met in person one day.

In 2019 I met Curt Mekemson after having followed his blog, Wandering Through Time and Place, for years. I knew we would get along well, and we did. I also adore his wife, Peggy. I like them so much that I wanted to visit them again, and they were excited to host me again. Win win.

Pedro and I had a four-day Memorial Day weekend, so we crafted a quick road trip to Southern Oregon. It was only a 5-hour drive from his place, so we left from there after he got off work and we drove all the way to Curt and Peggy’s house in the Applegate Valley south of Ashland, Oregon. They were sweet enough to have planned ahead and gave us dinner when we arrived so late, and then we crashed in their lovely spare room.

Curt, Pedro, and me on the deck at Curt’s house.

Curt had just posted about a forest trail he had been recapturing from history and from the wild animals. The next morning we all thought it would be a great idea to explore the trail, which is a short walk out the front door. You should take a look at his post, and you will find a couple more photos of Pedro and me. Curt’s trail through the forest tracks through signs of an old mining operation. Flat places for buildings, a few rusted metal items, mine tailings, and a couple of caves are all that remains. The trail wanders through a forest, past curious deer, and over caches of quartz rock.

Peggy leads Pedro into the miner’s cave, along Curt’s trail.
At the mouth of the cave, Pedro shines a light from his phone to take a look, as Peggy looks on.
I asked Pedro to use that same light and direct it at the sides of the cave, which I found fascinating. These white streaks are the vein of quartz that are tantalizing to miners, and the likely reason why this cave was dug in the first place.
An entrancing pink- and salmon-coloured campion we found blooming all around us along the trail.
Another view of the mountains, this time from the trail instead of from their deck.
My trusty little iphone loses some resolution with zoom.

Yes, I’m so out of practice with traveling, I actually forgot to bring my camera. I took all these photos with my phone.

After our hike and an outstanding breakfast, Pedro and I drove into Ashland to explore. He lived there for six months, and wanted to re-visit places he remembered. We walked through the always-lovely Lithia Park, of course. He told me about the water in Ashland, which I had never heard anything about. Turns out, someone at some point decided that the high mineral content of the water was good for you, and in the 1920s the city of Ashland tried to re-brand as a health resort destination. It didn’t work out, as this sign below says, due in part to the high mineral content of the water building up and clogging the pipes. While the city finds that the lithium, barium, and other chemicals in the water are safe to drink, they do recommend against daily consumption. That casts some doubt on potential health benefits!

When it was time to eat, he wanted to go to an old favourite English Pub. The Black Sheep is still there, but was closed until 5pm, so we opted for the nearby Standing Stone Pub. I was enticed by their crème brûlée but didn’t want to eat it yet. The waiter suggested he could ask for permission for me to buy the whole porcelain dish so I could take it with me and cook it at home. The dish was only another $4 and needless to say, I walked out of there with a crème brûlée , one of my favourite desserts. I thought that was hilarious and was quite pleased with myself.

A waterfall in Ashland’s Lithia Park.
This sign downtown tells some of the history of Ashland’s Lithia water.
The Black Sheep pub and restaurant looks quite English, but was not open during the hours we were hungry.
We couldn’t decide which of the Standing Stone Brewery brews to try, so opted for a flight. Some I didn’t care for, some were ok, some delicious!
Entrance at Standing Stone Brewery has a distinctly industrial look. Some of their brewing is done right here! Imagine how much mead I could make if I had a container this size.
I’m offering my crème brûlée to a woman I met on the street.
She certainly looks happy to try it. The man to her left is envious.
Pedro’s link to Ashland is because his hometown of Guanajuato, Mexico is a sister city to Ashland, Oregon. Each city has named a street after the other.

We returned to Curt & Peggy’s, eager to try his home-cooked baked beer can chicken. It was moist and delicious. After a quick visit to YouTube to figure out how to glaze sugar on crème brûlée without a torch, we all enjoyed the dessert I was so clever to get my hands on.

15 thoughts on “Bloggers in Southern Oregon

  1. Hahah! Brilliant! I love to see you two happy and moving around, especially to visit fellow bloggers. I checked out Curt’s post too and saw you there. You must have had wonderful outdoorsy fun.

    Speaking of blogging buddies, I’ve seen that you’ve connected with Bonnie Rae at In Search of the Very after I sent you a link to her post. In her last post she mentions her Covid journal and quotes from it. I found that very endearing. You two have so much in common.

    And I love it how your scored the crème brûlée! Just intended to say that amore will make it for you as he had for me in the past and that we had the tool, but he says that the tool is worthless. So I wonder what kind of solution you found online and whether it was any good.

    I can’t believe that you forgot your camera! 😀 Even though it had happened to me too. That waterfall shot is a beauty though, the sight of the beers makes me dizzy, and the monument looks like much fun! What does it stand for?

    Your smile says it all. You’re a happy woman. Really great to see. ❤

    1. Look at this wonderful, wonderful post about the monument, called Street Scene. My goodness, I never knew any of this stuff. I’m so grateful for your question that led me here: https://walkashland.com/2020/05/26/street-scene-sculpture-who-are-these-people/

      Oh yes, Bonnie commented on a post and I had never seen her name before, so I went to visit her blog. I did not see the one with a Covid journal, and isn’t that interesting we have done the same thing, and that you find other qualities we have in common. I’ll have to go take a look.

      We set the dessert under the broiler in the oven. Peggy suggested keeping the door open, so it didn’t overcook the custard, but only scorched the top. The Internet said to watch it constantly because when it begins to brown, it turns to burnt very fast, so don’t stop watching and be ready to pull it out. My review of the method is that it is clearly inferior to the torch method, but quite acceptable. One problem may have been that the sugar sat on top of the custard all day long, and absorbed the moisture, and probably that is why we couldn’t get a very crunchy crust. Done fresh, I’ll bet the results are better.

      I AM a really happy woman. I feel lucky that it’s how I turned out. ❤

      1. Thank you so much for going in a search for more info after my question, Crystal. This tells so much about you. ❤ It is most fascinating, the entire matter and the finalised piece.

        I sent you a link to Bonnie's post when I read that she visited the same peaks you write about. You were grateful to know that the observatory was open and that the snow was melting, remember? (See Messenger on FB).

        And good to know about the broiler in case we need to improvise. Thanks.

  2. Fun, Crystal! Thanks for the link. Peggy and I loved your and Pedro’s visit. We just returned from a weeks visit in the Sacramento area. Can you believe we visited with 26 different people. In mileage terms, it was a marathon. 🙂 One of the people we visited has been a friend for 72 years… all the way back to the first grade. Fun photos. Take care my friend! Until next time. –Curt and Peggy

    1. That is a LOT of visiting, Curt. I’m sure you both enjoyed it all. A marathon of visiting – so funny! haha! Probably takes just as much preparation and it’s equally taxing on a body, and then there’s the recovery time. Long time friends are so precious. It’s wonderful that you have stayed in touch.

      1. Laughing, I figuring on about six months of recovery, Crystal 🙂 All of the friends we visited had been friends for at least 30 years. –Curt

  3. It looks like you two had a wonderful time in Ashland. I’ve been curious about it since I spent a night there while driving up from California. I think it had snow on the ground and I had the dog so I didn’t get to explore all that much. Learned a lot about it from this post. I’m glad you got to spend time with some blogging friends. The crème brûlée score was brilliant. I love it too. It’s nice to get out and about again, isn’t it?

    1. You know, I have been curious about Ashland all my life, and it took me till just a few years ago to finally go there as an adult. My mother graduated from Ashland high school, and her mother lived there when I was little, so I have memories that I have been there, but zero recollection of the town. Mom loved Ashland, but for some odd reason, it took me forever to finally go see it. I’m glad you got to see a bit of it, by staying a night, even in the snow. I wish I could remember the flavour of the crème brûlée. That is why I wanted to taste it so badly. It was rosemary basil lemon, or something like that. Unexpected and one-of-a-kind. I tried looking up their menu later, and it wasn’t there. But trust me, the flavor was a treat. My next blogger friend that I will meet for the very first time is Manja in Italy. Our trip is coming up so soon, and I’ve been watching the regulations all summer, ready to pull the plug. Until very recently, there was going to be a 10-day quarantine on arrival, which would have forced us to postpone, but it was lifted if we can prove we’ve been vaccinated. Whew. We leave Aug 30, so there is still time for catastrophe, but I prefer to think of it as still time to plan for an outstanding vacation.

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