What Jess Walton (Y&R’s Jill Foster Abbot Fenmore) and I have in common

Y_and_RI have to confess to being a soap opera addict. I’ve been “clean” for decades (kids and a job can really help you kick the habit), but I’m still drawn to them.  If I pay attention to the covers of the soap opera magazines while waiting in the grocery check out line, I can pretty much stay updated on the story lines and characters. So, even though I’m not a regular viewer of The Young & The Restless, it wasn’t surprising that I immediately noticed a photo of Jess Walton hanging in a restaurant we visited recently.

Cowboy_Dinner_Tree_LRWe were enjoying our annual fall vacation at Eagle Crest Resort in Central Oregon and had made reservations for dinner one evening at The Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant. To describe the restaurant’s location as out in the middle of nowhere is no exaggeration. It’s located about two hours from our resort, and a couple miles outside the extremely small town of Silver Lake. This is not a restaurant one stumbles across. It’s off the main highway, the signage is poor and the building looks like it’s been abandoned.

Cowboy_Dinner_Tree_food_LRI read a review of the restaurant in The Oregonian newspaper’s travel section years ago, and we finally found the time to visit a couple of years ago. The husband wanted to go back this year, so we made our reservations (required!) and placed our order (also required) a month in advance.  They offer two dinner options: a 26-30 ounce Top Sirloin or a full roasted chicken (yep, a WHOLE chicken!). We order one of each and share (thankfully, they offer doggie bags to take the leftovers home). Dinner includes soup, salad, really delicious rolls, dessert and assorted beverages.

Jess_Walton_crop_LRAs we walked in the door, I noticed the photo of Jess and a group of people at the restaurant. The gentleman in the photo was labeled as her husband, John (her Y & R character Jill was married to a gentleman named John, too). I had to wonder what would bring a soap opera star from Los Angeles to a tiny, off the beaten path restaurant, in an incredibly remote area of Central Oregon.

A little research revealed that Jess and her husband John have recently moved to Central Oregon. I completely understand that decision!  I LOVE Central Oregon, and the husband and I plan to move there someday. The central and eastern portions of Oregon are so much drier than where we live (about 30 minutes southeast of Portland). For now, jobs and family obligations keep us west of the Cascades, so we have to be content with visiting several times a year.

Jess and I not only love Central Oregon enough to want to live there, but we are wives,  married to our spouses for more than 30 years, mothers of a boy and a girl, grandmothers, and apparently we both enjoy good food in large quantities, as well. O.K, those things don’t make us two peas in a pod, but I can’t help but feel a tiny connection to this actor who has discovered the wonders of my little corner of the world. Welcome to the neighborhood, Jess!

Vacation exercise

Me and the husband at Crater Lake

My former manager Jane is a creative spirit who is constantly on the move. She often regaled us with tales of her extreme vacations backpacking, hiking, and canoeing in remote locations. I was thoroughly exhausted just listening to all the activity and exercise she packed into her time off. I admire her in many ways and wish I had some of her talents. However, I’m really glad we have different vacation styles.

Crater Lake

My vacations are much more laid-back. A tent pitched on the hard, uneven ground of the Mt. Hood National Forest was a one-time experience with the husband and our puppy shortly after we married. We moved up to camping in State Parks with a camper that was so old, it had an ice box, but I was grateful for the softer bed. When our kids came along we went the motel route once, and then bought our timeshare. I love driving just a little more than two hours to the high dessert of Central Oregon, unloading the MDX and just relaxing in our second home.

It’s a long way down from the rim to Crater Lake

That’s not to say we don’t fit in some exercise while we are enjoying our time away from the day-to-day routine. There is a very scenic 3.5 mile walk along the Deschutes River we try to do every morning. The walk down to and along the river is pretty easy, but climbing back up can really elevate your heart rate. We also leisurely walk the paved paths after dinner, which makes indulging in ice cream on our deck seem acceptable.

A view of Wizard Island in Crater Lake

This year we also drove about 2 hours south to Crater Lake National Park. Amazingly beautiful! The best views involved hiking up along trails, using tree roots and rocks as foot-holds. I could feel the muscles in my “posterior” getting a workout. I was feeling pretty good about our activity level until I overheard a man talking about how he pedaled his way to the park and hoped to make it to the Oregon Caves before nightfall.

Whatever your vacation style, be sure to get out and explore. Get a little exercise and enjoy nature with *finesse!

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Oh, deer!

We’ve been vacationing in Central Oregon for more than 20 years and have enjoyed watching the local herd of black-tailed deer. Unfortunately, a few years ago we noticed just how rare a deer sighting had become.

About the same time, we also noticed signs informing visitors against feeding the deer. Apparently several deer had died due to eating popcorn, bread or whatever visitors used to urge the deer to come closer for photos, and even petting! I observed one family exhibiting this behavior and mentioned that this could be dangerous, but they strenuously claimed the deer were tame.

Please understand that wildlife is NOT tame! They may walk through resorts, parks or zoos (such as peafowl once did at Oregon Zoo), but that does not mean they are tame.

As you can see by the attached photos, the herd is once again flourishing and sightings are fairly easy. I sincerely hope visitors continue to resist the urge to feed the deer, allow them their space and quietly enjoy them from a distance.

Central Oregon – Day One

Monday morning marmot visitor.

The husband and I purchased a timeshare in Central Oregon more than 20 years ago. We’ve exchanged a few times to vacation at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, but we truly love vacationing at our home resort. Instead of my regular posts, I’ll be sharing photos of this scenic area we call our second home. Enjoy!

We’re all just enjoying the warmth of the sun!