Holiday 2014 – The Last House on the Dirt Road off the County Road – Part 2

January 8-12, 2015

On Saturday, with a visit to Grants Pass for dinner scheduled for the evening, Joanna and I took our bikes out for a ride down to Selma and back. It was cold, but not uncomfortably so, and the work of cycling warmed us up after a time. We’d originally thought about taking Bear Creek Rd. over the pass to Cave’s Highway outside of Cave Junction, a ride we’ve done before but partway up the steep and demanding grade we decided it was more work than we had in us and so turned around and made our way out to Selma.

This is rural Oregon, Josephine County, one of the poorest in the state. If you spend any amount of time in an area like this, one impression that stays with you is the propensity for folks to use their properties as repositories for considerable amounts of junk. Abandoned cars, boats, household appliances, old tools, farm equipment and just about any other item you can imagine, randomly set down in yards and strung along the property line, a tableau of tales untold.

Mailboxes in the afternoon

Mailboxes in the afternoon

We rode down Thompson Creek Rd to Lakeshore Drive, then out to Highway 199, also known as the Redwood Highway. We turned right up the road passing by Crystal Kaleidoscope, a rock store we’d stopped at the day before, picking up some Fenton Art Glass remnants (odd shapes left over from the manufacturing process) to take back to Kathy and for us to bring home. We stopped at the coffee shack (the Pacific Northwest is covered in these pop-up coffee emporiums) in the parking lot of Ray’s Food Place (the local market) to split a large latte and a cookie, refueling for our ride back on Deer Creek Road, which intersects with Lakeshore Drive not far from where we turn back up Thompson Creek.

Crystal Kaleidoscope

Crystal Kaleidoscope

It was a good morning’s work, about twenty miles, and supplied us with enough activity to anticipate the dinner we’d eat in town later that day. At the appointed hour we drove into Grants Pass, ran a couple of errands first before alighting at our first stop, the Oregon Pour Authority. Here is the review I wrote for it at Trip Advisor:

We visited the Oregon Pour Authority last week with friends who live out near Selma, stopping in for one beer before heading to a nearby restaurant for dinner. We had a delightful visit, engaged immediately by a friendly and talkative barkeep (maybe one of the owners) whose comprehensive knowledge of beer helped us all to make our selections. They have big selection here, both on draft and in bottles; each selection was enjoyed thoroughly.

It’s a cozy place with one big TV for sports and seating arranged to encourage conversation amongst patrons. It appears that they have a relationship with a nearby restaurant to have food brought in; you could easily make an afternoon or an evening out of a visit. We’ll be back.

Oregon Pour Authority

Oregon Pour Authority

We then met Sally and Harold, long time friends of Kathy and Tom (I first met Sally when I visited Seattle for the month in 1977), for dinner at the Taprock Northwest Grill, a large establishment with a comprehensive menu of American classics. Joanna and I split the Parmesan Crusted Halibut served with the Garlic Infused Rice and Broccoli. It was nice to get a good piece of fish and a vegetable, a break from the steady diet of red meat we tend to consume when on the road.

Sally, Tom, Kathy and Harold

Sally, Tom, Kathy and Harold

We finished up and returned to Selma, preparing for a quiet Sunday, one that would involve Tom and I heading into Medford to pick up a Kindle Fire tablet he’d ordered. I’m not exactly a tech guru but often my role during visits with folks is to help those even less knowledgeable than myself set up or fix some tech issue they are experiencing. Such was the balance of our Sunday.

It’s a good drive of an hour or more to get to Medford and we decided to stop at Kaleidoscope Pizza in town for a small lunch. We’d visited before for their tasty pizza and comprehensive beer selection; Tom and I split a small Margherita with fresh Romas, basil, parmesan, garlic, olive oil and the addition of Mozzarella, just the right amount of food for the two of us so as not to spoil our appetite for dinner that night.

Tom at Kaleidoscope Pizza

Tom at Kaleidoscope Pizza

Monday was a quiet day at the house. Joanna and I re-packed the car in anticipation of the amount of highway driving we’d be doing in wintery conditions, opting to get the bikes off the top and inside, a matter of positioning action packers and other luggage so as to support the bikes laying down. We ran into Selma in the early afternoon and picked up supplies at Ray’s to make tacos and burritos for dinner, our contribution to compensate for the many fine meals that Kathy had prepared for us.

Dinner worked out fine with the exception of the frying of the tacos. This method of preparation, heating up cooking oil in a cast iron skillet and then placing a folded corn tortilla with some seasoned ground beef inside absolutely relies on fresh tortillas to be successful. The less fresh the tortilla, the more apt it is to split and crack when folded, creating a mess of epic proportions, not to mention hot cooking oil splattering all over when the meat falls out.

We figured out a workaround (heat the tortillas first on the electric burner) and in the end the meal was a success, mirroring the visit itself, long days and nights full of good food, alcohol, conversation and pleasant diversions. I can guarantee we won’t wait another three years to visit Kamp Angst again.

Tom, Joanna and Jerry in 2003

Tom, Joanna and Jerry in 2003


Crystal Kaleidoscope:

Fenton Art Glass:

Ray’s Food Place:

Oregon Pour Authority:

Taprock Northwest Grill:

Kaleidoscope Pizza:


  1. Thomas Carlisle · · Reply

    Hey there. Que pasa? Will you send me a photo of the dogs on the road? Agnes and Rosie? One that we can get developed? We miss those two hounds and don’t have a decent photo of them. We miss you guys as well, so what could be better than a photo of old pals and old hounds?

    I’m slowly figuring out the Toshiba. I backed up the works and today got my security and virus program installed. Now I’m working on getting email functional. What I dislike most is the time it takes to figure things out.

    What’s going on with you guys?


  2. Thomas Carlisle · · Reply

    P.S. Who took the photo of you and me and Joanna and the hounds? Do you remember?


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