Napa Valley Wine Country

The first thing that comes to my mind as we begin to see beautiful rolling hills and majestic vineyards is Calistoga water, The French Laundry and the CIA at Greystone. Napa Valley is a culinary mecca of the finest dining and wines set in the most beautiful valley and climate. We are on our winter journey exploring as we go and this was a must stop. Pulling our 25 foot trailer and trying to visit the beautiful Napa Valley Wine country is a little tricky. So what do you do, you head to The ELKS Lodge (if you're lucky enough to be members) and pay $35.00 a night for full hook-ups, bocce ball ,horseshoes,BINGO NIGHT and of course a full bar. Now that we are parked in a gated and locked secure campground we can venture out to explore the beautiful wine country at a leisure pace.

Visiting the Culinary Institute Of America (CIA) was definitely a culinary dream of ours, we are definitely foodies and this is the place to tour. From the massive carved doors when you enter, the italian architecture and the aromas from the hi tech kitchens we were in culinary heaven. A self guided tour allows you to see years of antique wine stoppers to kitchen equipment which will bring back many memories. I can’t tell you how many items we saw that our moms or grandmas had, very fun. After you are finished with your tour you have to find the CIA’S restaurant and BAKERY.

FIRST STOP: THE CIA

Homemade baguettes, stone ground bread to chocolate hazelnut tarts all made to perfection what a treat. With so much to choose from we opted for a chocolate tart and a expertly made Illy Espresso. We then had to sample their handmade chocolate truffles and maybe take home a calamita olive focaccia bread and a whole wheat stone ground loaf of bread. Yes we went a little carb crazy. We will walk it off right!

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Of the over 500 wineries in Napa Valley, the Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga California is a unique winery and a must see. We purchased the premium tour which lets you visit the dungeons, the torture room and the underground barrel rooms. We each got to taste 5 unique and delicious wines and an additional wine tasting right out of an oak barrel. We are not wine experts but do appreciate a fine glass of wine and as we tasted we were to judge each tasting. We found ourselves rating them all 10’s as EVERY TASTING was some of the best wine we have ever experienced. We had to hold back and only purchase 2 of our favorites but could have purchased all of them. We highly recommend the tour as the castle itself was Dario Sattui’s dream in which he kept the Italian theme. The style of the castle, the vast grounds and their wines make you feel you are in the heart of Italy.

Our next winery exploration was CHATEAU MONTELENA. Now there is madness behind finding this winery as it is the winery they made the movie BOTTLE SHOCK. Its a fascinating story about a struggling little winery back in 1976 that just happened to have one of the finest wines in the USA and needed to prove their excellence to the established French vintners. The grounds of the Chateau are all original and are featured in the movie. What a beautiful winery and their wine well you’ll need to watch the movie and sample some of their finest wine, let’s say we were in wine heaven.

Until our next adventure, thanks for following my blog and CHEERS from JEFF AND LIZ

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TO ALL

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Redwood National Park CALIFORNIA

From Brookings, Oregon and a mere 30 mile drive the Redwoods begin. Large and empowering giants standing guard on the edges of the Redwood Highway with vista views of the Pacific Ocean. What a beginning to our next ADVENTURE.

You are in Redwood National Park. If you travel north of Elk Country RV park past Berry Glen and turn west on Newton B Drury scenic parkway and stop at the combined California state park and national park visitors center. You can then proceed for 10 miles of amazing redwood trails and vistas.

NOTE: We hadn’t expected that all of the National Parks throughout our journey would be closed due to Political issues, so our adventure was condensed. The National and State Park volunteers and Rangers are so accommodating and helpful they want you to have a wonderful experience in spite of political issues. The main trails to lots of huge Redwoods were closed, Visitor Centers and some restrooms depending on if they fell under State or Federal.

Despite the closers we did get to see a lot of The Redwoods and many large trees and definitely felt the Redwood experience.

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Until Our Next Adventure – Cheers from JUST AROUND THE BEND 

NEXT STOP NAPA VALLEY CALIFORNIA

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ELK COUNTRY RV RESORT AND CAMPGROUND

The beginning of our 2019 snowbird travels we took a recommendation from Ray at Love your RV and checked out Elk Country RV Resort just a few miles south of Orick California . 
This place is not only a bargain at 35 dollars a night for full hook up and wi fi the location and wildlife viewing was exceptional. We have watched Ray for years showing the Roosevelt Elk herd so very near his trailer and we were not disappointed .

One evening I was taking photos at the red schoolhouse and the herd migrated toward our trailer. I had to hustle back so I could get in the trailer before they were to close and safety wise I couldn’t get back in for the night. When they bed down for the night they stay put. You definitely don’t want to get to close to an elk for they will protect their territory and their adorable babies. We stayed 5 days and never tired of watching the herd. If it wasn’t for an extreme storm headed our way we would have stayed longer for further exploration of the area. The management was  extremely nice and filled us in on the history of the area and things to see and do.

NOTE: When you get to Elk Country RV Park remember to take the south entrance road as there are posted closed signs on the old bridge because of so many tourists coming to gawk at the elk. It is private property but the tourist enter anyway. There is a red schoolhouse which was stone lagoon school from 1893/1958. They moved it from the west side of 101 to its present location . They will let you look inside if you ask. 
You can see a lot of our shots are taken from our trailer from the Windows as the elk are just feet from the trailer. Where else can you be in the middle of an elk herd from the comfort of your own trailer. Try out Elk Country RV Resort you won’t be disappointed.

Stone Lagoon School
SO CLOSE
Watch Out


  • Our first day of exploration took us to Fern Canyon. You walk down a groomed trail for about a 1/2 mile then you turn right and walk straight up another canyon but this time you walk in the middle of a creek. Wear your rubber boots for this one or you will get very wet. This is the canyon they filmed Jurassic Park #3 and Star Wars in, the farther you walk the more it seems you are in the middle of either movie. So green and lush with 5 finger ferns growing down the steep walls . Keep your eye out as this is a favorite place for another herd of Roosevelt ELK.

FERN CANYON

This is still the trail
Fern Canyon


FERN CANYON

Another little side trip was Patrick’s Point State Park which is a fee area with Great cliff top views and trails.
Patrick’s point road into Trinidad is very scenic. We had some great clam chowder at Trinidad bay eatery and gallery. The public beach is great in Trinidad and a cool wharf to walk out on to see the bay.

PATRICKS POINT
SPECTACULAR

Cheers From Just Around The Bend Jeff and Liz

Next Adventure is THE REDWOODS

Be Careful In Fern Canyon

ELKS Club Camping – Brookings Oregon

We rolled into Brookings, Oregon heading for Harris Beach State Park. Ok, no we did not have reservations and yes, it was a major holiday weekend and yes, they were full. So, we retreated to our second backup idea, which was The Elks. With 20 sites available and only 3 other RV’s in the parking lot, we were delighted.

Amenities were many: all paved parking, water and electric included and with a very nice RV dump station, all for a donation of $20.00 a night. With a beautiful view of the ocean, it was perfect.

NOTE: You do need to be a club member, which I would highly recommend.

After settling into our very private and quiet campsite we returned to Harris Beach view point to explore the well known tide pools and walk the beaches. It was spectacular!

We were very fortunate that the weather was 47 degrees, no wind and clear skies. Exploring the town of Brooking was fun and enjoyable. I also highly recommend Harris Beach Campground, (with reservations) which is located above the ocean with beautiful views.

Our next Adventure is Elk Country RV Resort in California

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND

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Grand Teton National Park

Words haven’t been designed to explain the beauty of the Tetons. We have traveled to a lot of amazing National Parks, for this one Jeff and Liz are finally out of words to describe.

We left Phillips Lake campground where if you remember we met up with are goods friends and camped. Jeff with his traveling brilliance came up with a great idea of since we were already halfway to The Grand Tetons, why not just head that way. Long story short we did just that and now here we are camping at Gros Ventre Campground – site B99, just spectacular. At $15.00 a night (golden age pass) we stayed for a glorious 13 days. Now this is dry camping, so our solar really came in handy as the nights got down into the high thirties. But the views from every angle were priceless. Gros Ventre is just yards from the Snake River and sometimes inches from Bull Moose. Gros Ventre Campground has over 300 first come, first serve sites with one loop of full hookup ,one for employees only, one tent only no generators and one group Loop. Always Remember National Parks have strict rules on pets so check regulations before you come. BE BEAR AWARE. Bring bear spray and carry it at all times. It is much cheaper to buy at home than in the Tetons.

So much to do, the pristine bike trails are a must and kayaking the many lakes as well as the Snake River will leave you with endless memories. A word to the wise..hit the lakes and trailheads early which means by 8 am.Those happy campers can clog a parking lot like a bird getting the early worm. You can find yourself parking on the road side where allowed and hiking an extra mile or more to the trailhead parking lot. Also the best photo opportunities of nature and wildlife are early. Moose and Bears are not much for luncheons. Our Bull Moose showed up at 5:30 am by our campground and left by 7:00 am for the river wilds.

If you get burnt out of nature things to do there is always the town of Jackson to explore.You can shop, eat and drink to your heats content. Jackson is very popular, traffic and parking are a challenge. We did find some great Bakeries, Ice cream and really enjoyed Snake River Brewery which had a lot of healthy choices of pub food which we found to be much better than our local Bend Oregon Breweries. The town also has numerous Art Galleries and Museums.

Until our next adventure – CHEERS from JUST AROUND THE BEND _ Jeff and Liz

Union Creek Camp Ground Oregon 2018

Every year we migrate to Union Creek Campground, it happens to be one our favorite peaceful RVing locations. This year we are being joined by our good friends Dave and Jen and Ross and Cheryl, fun times ahead with this group of friends.

This year we decided to mix it up a little and ride The Historic Narrow-Gauge Sumpter Railroad. A six-mile round trip ride staffed by all volunteers and two fully restored original steam locomotives we were sure to have a great experience. Running on the reconstructed gold rush train tracks between McEwen and the historic mining town of Sumpter, its a guarantee that the whole family will enjoy this relaxing trip back in time. DON’T forget THE TRAIN ROBBERY BY THE GOLD RUSH BANDITS!! A historic shooting group with period firearms, costumes, all performed on horseback. This was a highlight of the train ride.

Your round-trip ride begins at McEwen station to the rustic town of Sumpter. The train allows you to get off to tour the town and visit the

historic dredge. For reservations call 541-894-2268,  

 sumptervalleyrailroad.org.

 

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Now back to our camping experience, Union Creek Campground offers a wide range of amenities and activities. Boating and fishing is one of our favorites as catching fish is abundant. The water is a very comfortable degree which makes kayaking, paddle boarding and just plain old-fashioned swimming an enjoyable experience. A well-groomed 6.5 mile hiking trail traverses around the lake with numerous scenic views. The trail is one of several mountain bike and hiking trails that are found in the Phillips Lake Trail System.

Campsites are very large, spaced well from each other and set in the pines. Includes water, electric, fire ring, BBQ, picnic tables, immaculate restrooms  with flushometer toilets. A Boat launch with bait shop is a nice amenities with the most helpful and friendly staff we have ever encountered they will even deliver worms and ice to your campsite. Golden Age passport rate was $13.00 a night, we love site B17 very private, flat with a scenic view of the lake.

 

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Until our next destination CHEERS from Jeff and Liz

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Dutch Oven Fruit Cobbler and Gluten Free

Dutch oven cooking is a fun way to create food and desserts gourmet style. This particular Rving Adventure lead us to Horse Creek Campground for 5 days of Hiking, biking and campfire cooking with great friends.

Since half of our friends and family tend to be gluten free I came up with this delicious gluten free fruit cobbler. I decided instead of using my oven in the RV, I would cook it on the campfire in a cast iron pot.  IT’S EASY, FUN AND DELICIOUS!!!   🍏

RECIPE:      

In a medium bowl add:

FRUIT MIXTURE:

4 cups of FRUIT– can be sliced apples, apples and blueberries, mixed                                        fruit (strawberries,  blueberries, raspberries etc)  I personally add 1                                     cup rhubarb to any of  the above fruit mixtures, Yum.

To the fruit mixture mix in-

1 Tablespoon Tapioca

2 Tablespoons sugar free raspberry jam (I prefer Trader Joe’s)

1 Tablespoon Honey (more if you like it sweeter) also can use Stevia, Agave etc

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

Stir together gently and place in a deep dish pan, 8 x 8 inch casserole dish or any ovenproof  dish you prefer- pour into chosen pan. Set aside. If cooking in a conventional oven set oven at 350 degrees.

If cast iron cooking I used a 12 inch dutch oven and placed 8 coales on the bottom and 12  to 14 coales on the top. This particular time I used a dutch oven liner which really helped with clean-up as we were dry camping with limited water, either way it turned out perfect.

TOPPING

In a medium bowl add:   🥘

1 Cup Oatmeal

1/4 Cup chopped nuts ) I prefer pecans) almonds are good also

2 Tablespoons gluten free rice flour (can use gluten free baking mix)

If you are not gluten free I use 100% whole wheat flour

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

Optional but yummy is to add 1 to 2 tablespoons flaked coconut to topping mixture

Stir above ingredients together mix in the butter or olive oil until crumbly 

ADD:

2 Tablespoons Butter (melted) or 2 Tablespoons Olive OIL (We prefer the olive oil for health reasons , I’ve made it both ways and really can’t tell the diff). Try it both way and see what you think.

Sprinkle topping over your fruit mixture, spreading evenly- place in preheated oven and bake until golden brown and bubbly approx for 30 to 40 minutes. We live at 6 thousand feet so my cobbler takes a little longer in Bend, Oregon. 350 Degrees

Now the Cast Iron Pot over the campfire cooking method: 

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The method is the same as a conventional oven the only difference is If cast iron cooking I used a 12 inch dutch oven and placed 8 coales on the bottom and 12 to 14 on the top. This time it took about 40 minutes  at 1500 feet elevation to cook to perfection. Just peek at the last 15 minutes to check if its bubbly and browning nicely.

Now the unhealthy part, really good with vanilla bean ice cream (Per jeff) and or whipping cream, just a suggestion.

CHEERS FROM LIZ UNTIL NEXT TIME♥♥♥♥      

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