Well, we headed south to Salem & are staying at the Elks Lodge in Salem.This is on the south side of town. There is one in Keizer which is the north side of
|Elks Lodge RV Park|
This is a fairly large size RV park (for an Elks Lodge). It has 36 sites & most have full hookups including 30 & 50 amp service & free wifi with a very strong signal. They can all accommodate slide outs & many are big enough to accommodate big rigs. The don't take reservations but when I called last week they had plenty of room. I was told
|Elks Lodge RV Park|
Today is just a "relax" day but we are heading over to the "Travel Salem" place to pick up some travel information & I have a list of things to do as well then we will head to Trader Joe's to replace all the frozen food that got ruined the extra freezer we have in a compartment had a power failure.
The morning started off bright & early. I made a command decision to go out for breakfast so after feeding the dogs we headed to "The Original Pancake House" which was recommended by the girl at the visitors center. It was NOT cheap but let me tell you it was the best pecan belgian waffle I have ever had.
After breakfast we headed over to Freddy's for some green onions. Of course we left with a full shopping cart (one of the small ones). While in the housewares section I met a lady & we started chatting. She is a new RVer & we were comparing notes. We had a great chat & during our conversation we got on the subject of local stuff. She told me about the Saturday Market which is the BIG Salem farmers market in the area.
|Saturday Market Vendors|
Salem Saturday Market
After we finished at Freddy's we headed over to the market & was I couldn't
believe how big it was. I have never seen such a big market. It covered a big 1 block square area & parking was hard to find but we finally found a spot. We found an entrance a few feet from the car & walked right into the food vendor area. These are the food vendors selling breakfast & lunch & let me tell you there was something for everyone. In one way I was
|Saturday Market Vendors|
week before we head to Newport. I heard no comment from Al other than "that breakfast omelet is huge". So I guess that means we are coming next week.
This really should be called The Salem Saturday dog show because there was every shape, size & breed wandering around the market. You would almost think it was a dog park.
There were booths offering a large variety of things including: fresh locally
|Al checking out the omelets|
There are tables & chairs scattered throughout the area for people to sit & have a drink & snacks...lots of both are available from the vendors of course.
We have been to Farmer's Markets in a lot of places & most of them in Washington & Oregon but this one by far is the absolute best we have been to. Everyone is so friendly, the stuff they offer is the best & everything we sampled was the best we have had.
Local park behind the Elks RV Park
After we returned from the farmer's market we stopped to take a look at the
|Park behind the Elks RV Park|
|Girl chasing the ducks|
The rest of the day is just going to be for relaxing & looking through all our area brochures to figure out where else we want to go for the rest of the week. We have already picked out several places to check out but some of them aren't open on the week end so we will spread things out over the week.
Sunday - Ankeny Vineyards
Today we decided to take a drive down to one of the MANY vineyards in the
|Aerial view of the vineyards|
I read about the place in one of the books I got at the travel center. On the weekends they also make fire-roasted pizza so I thought it would be great to drive down today to do some wine tasting & perhaps have a pizza for lunch.
|Wine Tasting Area|
Once we got there I knew we had to just relax & enjoy lunch over looking the beautiful hillside where all the grapes are growing. It seemed like everywhere we looked there were grape vines.
First order of business was the wine tasting. You get to taste 6 different wines for $5.00 or it's free with a bottle of wine. After
|Deck overlooking vineyards|
Their Pino Gris was amazing. This is how they describe it: "The Pinot Gris has been fermented in temperature-controlled stainless tanks with no secondary fermentation before bottling. This crisp, fruit-foward wine exhibits aromas of peach and mango with accents of floral,
pear and apple. It also tastes like it has whipped cream in it. It was awesome. Al fell in love with
|Fire roasted pizza cooking|
We decided to have their veggie pizza which had zucchini, green pepper, tomato slices, olives & onion. Everything, including the crust was organic & the crust was very thin
|Partial view of the vineyards|
We walked around a little bit before leaving looking at all the grape vines growing, the beautiful flowers & just taking it all in. This place was something to behold. We never got to meet
|Pressing Pinot Noir Grapes|
Our ride home Al decided to take the scenic route going the back roads through the country. We saw several vineyards & mini castles. I found it hard to believe this was all just outside of Salem. I suspect we will probably have to take another ride out there before we leave next Saturday...while we aren't big drinkers those 3 bottles sure aren't going to last very long & so far nothing we have had compares to these wines.
Today was sort of a day of rest. Shadow had a minor melt down while we were at the winery yesterday & we suspect that there might have been some fireworks in the park next door. This is the 2nd time he has had a severe anxiety attack that resulted in him trying to dig his way out of the motorhome. So, we headed over to Petsmart & bought a collapsible crate for him so he would have a "safe cave" to be in while we are gone. I won't worry about him or about damage to the coach. We tried him in it briefly today when we ran some errands & he did great.
Today we did more exploring. Our first stop was the Salem Riverfront Carousel. I was blown away...it turns out the horses (& now other animals) are hand carved by the Capital Woodcarvers club of Salem. The material we received about the carousel did not talk much about the making of the horses so I didn't know that they were hand carved. The Carousel is on city property but the non-profit organization rents the building that houses the carousel, gift shop,
The Carousel has been up for 13 years but it took 6 years to get the horses ready before they could even open. The original carousel animals were all horses but now they are starting to carve other animals such as a frog (the first of the "non-horses", an elephant, deer, giraffe & several other animals are in the works.
The vice president of the carvers club, Jack,
|Another carousel horse|
Original drawings are made into blueprints & then wood block cutouts are made by a local wood shop. A volunteer team of 3-5 carvers/sanders & 1-
They also make 1/8, 1/4 & 1/2 scale figures (replica's) some of these are used for sale in the gift shop to help support the carousel. Others are actually used on the carousel but they are not for riding. You can see in the photo below the smaller horse which is one of the half size carvings.
|Small carousel horse & buggy|
Jack & Dennis explained that they keep a variety of extra carousel animals so that they can rotate them from time to time. Since they also need to do repairs from time to time it's important they always have some ready to go if it's needed. I guess I never realized how riding a carousel animal could damage it but they said it's pretty common especially when someone decides to stand up instead of riding it. The part of the carving where
|Dennis & the other carvers|
After we learned all about the carousel & how they design & create the horses & other animals we hung around for quite a while chatting about carving, pyrography, gourds, etc. We learned from them & they learned a little from us & it was a lot of fun. Jack & Dennis suggested we head down to the paint shop & take a look at the elephant. They both suggested that I talk to Donna (Dennis' wife) who is a pyrographer.
After we finished up with the carving shop we headed down to meet Donna. Dennis walked in right after we did & introduced us. We spent another half an hour talking to Donna about the painting process. It was fascinating & neither of us had any idea that the painting involved LOTS of time & layering to create each horse. We then moved on to pyrography. Donna has been doing it
|Carved deer & squirrel|
It was apparent after talking to everyone that this was a true labor of love. It showed in their work, each carving & the carousel itself. I thought carving carousel horses was a dying art but it appears that it is alive & well.
|Drawings of Elephant & Frog|
Jack did tell me before we left that Albany, OR was in the process of building a carousel as well. He said that their building was going to be much bigger & that their carving & painting areas would be quite a bit bigger than what they have in Salem. I detected a bit of envy because of their cramped quarters. He
said they are just getting started so it won't be ready for another 5-6 years because that is how long it will take to carve enough carousel animals to get started. He did say they they were going to be carving a variety of animals right off the bat, not just the horses.
Hopefully we will still be RVing in 5-6 years so we
I almost forgot to add a very important photo. Before leaving Jack gave me a gift of "Authentic Carousel DNA". The Label on the bag says "Keeping the Dream Alive! He said it contained actual DNA from the elephant & frog. I wonder what it will look like when I put them together...Perhaps I will end up with an elefrog? that's a scary thought!
While looking at the Carousel someone took a ride on the carousel so I took a short video. It was just like I remember when I was a kid but of course now it seems to look smaller than it did back then...I wonder why ;)
If you want to check out there website to read more about the carousel & the organization here is a link to their site: Salem Riverfront Carousel
Today we did a little bit of exploring in downtown. I say a little because there is sooooo much to see. There is an abundance of quaint little shops & of course the state capital. We had hoped to see the state capital on this trip but it appears that will have to wait.
We have decided that we are only going to spend 1 month in Newport instead
|"The Oregon Crepe"|
But back to Salem. Today we discovered 2 great little places in downtown Salem. There is a building that has been converted to lots of quaint little shops & cafe's on several different levels. We stopped for lunch in a place called "The Oregon Crepe". We had lunch crepes that were wonderful. The cafe has a very small open kitchen where you order & then you sit at cute cafe tables. Lunch was fabulous. After lunch we looked around the shops & then had dessert at a place called "The Little Canoli Shop". Another great experience.
Well, people are already celebrating the 4th & Shadow is starting to freak
|Shadow's new hideout|
Shadow has spent a few times in it yesterday & today & he comfortable in it. After a few times going in (with a little coaxing) now he goes in by himself. He actually seems to feel pretty safe & is looking forward to it when there are "weird noises" he
|Al & Shadow|
I captured a rare moment with Shadow & Al on the couch. Shadow is not much of a cuddler but occasionally he does like getting on the couch & cuddling.
We are done with all our sightseeing in Salem for this trip. It's been great fun but we definitely need to return in August. The first stop will be the state capital. We drove by there a few times & just the outside is spectacular with fountains & water park for the kids to run in.
The Elks Lodge 4th of July pot luck....this was a big hit. This was a lot
|Elks Lodge Pot Luck|
The RV park provided the fried chicken, beverages & table settings. Everyone brought food & there was a wide variety of desserts (as my mother used to say, "life is uncertain, eat dessert first" so I am listing that first), salads of all kinds, deviled eggs, baked beans, watermelon & several other things I can't remember. There were 3 tables with food!
|One of the food tables|
Lisa, the Exalted Ruler sat with us for a while & when she heard we might come back in August she talked us into coming a couple of days early so we can come to their Annual picnic. After she told us what they were doing & what was being served I made a command decision that we would be leave Newport that morning & get here in plenty of time.
Everyone at the table was chatting about things to do in Salem & I realized we really had a lot more to see when we come back & the first stop will be the state capital.
So, tomorrow we head to Newport but we had a great time while in Salem.