California & Oregon

On June 17, Steve and I flew to San Francisco to meet Joe Simmons, whose wife Karen, Steve’s sister, died so suddenly last December. After lunch at a Chinese restaurant on Clement Street with Joe, Joe’s son Hayden, and Hayden’s fiancée, Melissa, Joe took us to see the Palace of the Fine Arts, the only remaining building of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the 1915 World’s Fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco’s recovery from the devastation of the 1906 earthquake.

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The next day we drove from Joe’s home in Novato to Bend, Oregon, stopping to view Mount Shasta, the emblem for many a bottle of Shasta Pop. The water level in Lake Shasta was very low; Joe says that California water restrictions are making citizens report on each other. We had a wonderful lunch at the Hi-Lo Cafe in Weed, CA.

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We stopped longer at the incredibly blue Crater Lake. Ever since my mother sent me a postcard from Crater Lake in 1953, I have wanted to see it for myself. Wow! Awe-inspiring! A massive volcanic eruption 7,700 years ago left a deep basin where Mount Mazama once stood. Centuries of rain and snow filled the basin, forming a deep blue lake whose waters are pure and clear. At 1,943 feet, it is the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth deepest in the world. Crater Lake is the only National Park in Oregon.

At Bend, we met about 25 people who had lived in or had connections with Baker College at Rice University in the mid-1960s. Three of us who came, Bob, Mike and I, are co-chairing the Reunion Giving Campaign for the Class of 1966, which will culminate in a significant check to present at Homecoming in the fall of 2016. Steve is a Reunion Giving Co-Chair for his Class of 1965. This mini-reunion, however, was for fun and reconnecting, not solicitation.  Steve had a wonderful time golfing with old buddies, while Joe and I and others hiked and visited the high Desert Museum with other non-golfers. Joe and I found Tumalo and Smith Rock State Parks particularly beautiful, as you can see in these photos. On the last evening, we all dined al fresco at Elk Lake in the Cascades and had a short canoe ride after dinner. Steve found me a poor rudder person in the canoe, but we enjoyed being out on the water as the stars began to appear. The guides from Wanderlust Tours were very knowledgeable and helpful to our over-70 group.

On the way back to Novato on Father’s Day, we stopped at a hotel in Ashland, Oregon, and attended a very modern production of Much Ado About Nothing by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. There were two terrific actors playing Beatrice and Benedict, but we agreed that some cutting was needed–or were we just tired from all that outdoor activity? In the afternoon Steve got to watch Jordan Spieth win the U.S. Open and receive Father’s Day greetings from all three kids.

Back in Novato on Tuesday, we were glad to see Alyce Boster (another Wild Rice Woman from the Class of 1966) and her husband Dave Boster, who drove up from Los Altos CA. After a tasty lunch at Besos, Joe took us on a hike to see a special woodpecker tree on one of the nearby hills.

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On our last evening Joe took us to see the San Francisco Giants play the San Diego Padres at AT&T Baseball Field. Alas, the Padres won, but we’ll have another chance to see the Giants play the Washington Nationals on July 3, when Joe will be visiting us here. This trip was grand way to spend time with Joe.

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