I Still Love Oregon

Ever start writing a blog and just end up boring yourself? I’ve had 2 sitting on my desktop with no compelling reason to complete them. They’re just not good.

So, instead I am going to invite you to check out Oregon with me!

I flew in to Portland on Thursday night. Lindsey (remember her?) was flying in a few hours later, since she had a college class that she just couldn’t miss. I never fly in on the last flight of the day, because if it is cancelled, or I miss it, well, there is no Signing Time event the next day. So, I took and earlier flight and Linds took the last flight.

It’s been awhile since I traveled with Lindsey. Luckily, Lindsey was able to come along, since it is just too early to leave Lucy with a sitter. Lucy was only 2 weeks post-op.

Lucy’s surgeries went really well!

Lucy Wakes Up to a Garden of Balloons

Lucy Wakes Up to a Garden of Balloons

She had three procedures and it took 6 hours. She is very resilient.

Feeling Better

Feeling Better

For this Oregon trip, Aaron stayed home with Leah and Lucy.

While waiting for Lindsey’s flight to arrive, I knew I would have about 4 hours to kill… so I picked up a ticket to see The Killers, who were playing that very night. (Yay for me!) No, I am not afraid of going to concerts or movies by myself.
The Killers in Portland

The show was amazing. It is my goal to get Baby Signing Time to the lead singer, Brandon Flowers, he has a newborn and a toddler and I would love for them to sign with me… since my family sings along with him.

After the show, I picked up Lindsey and we dove 80 miles to Cannon Beach. We checked in and hit the sack. The bummer with driving in the middle of the night is you miss the beauty.

In the morning we met up with Debbie, whose organization brought us out there, and we had brunch at a place called Wanda’s. This was the first of many AMAZING meals we would have on this trip. I had oatmeal… oatmeal… and it knocked my socks off. I mean really, how often can you say you’ve had an amazing bowl of oatmeal? … Me neither! Though, you are more likely thinking, “You ordered oatmeal? Who orders oatmeal?” I do. Okay? I order oatmeal.

Next we visited Nehalem Elementary School. I shared a sign language story time with the Life Skills Class. Then did a Signing Time Assembly for the entire school.

It was still fairly early in the day, so Linds and I drove back to our inn and threw on our swimsuits (silly California girl!) and hopped back into our PT Cruiser and started driving the coast. We pulled over to get our toes in the sand.

Walking The Beach

Walking The Beach

Yes, I brought longsleeves

Yes, I brought longsleeves

Picking up Sand Dollars

Picking up Sand Dollars

We always ask the locals for dinner recommendations and this time we were pointed toward “The best seafood!” a restaurant called Pirate’s Cove.

So Good!

So Good!

Need I say more?

We drove back to the inn, stopping to pick wild blackberries and raspberries that seemed to run rampant everywhere we looked.

Blackberries Make Us Happy

Blackberries Make Us Happy

The following morning was the Buddy Walk at the Beach, in Seaside. The weather was perfect. The walk was just the right length.

I got to meet Lucy’s personal Fan Club, little Dru.

Dru Loves Lucy Coleman

Dru Loves Lucy Coleman

Then it was time to walk.

Walking in the Buddy Walk

Walking in the Buddy Walk

We all gathered for a photo on the stairs that lead to the beach. It felt like a “Where’s Waldo” scene, since most everyone had their Buddy Walk shirts on and I was wearing my signature orange.

Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?

Lucy’s buddy, Josiah and his family were there. You may have seen Josiah in “The Great Outdoors” exploring on his crutches or smiling next to Lucy. Josiah and Lucy go WAY back. Josiah’s mom, Gina, was the 77th fetal surgery for spina bifida patient and Lucy and I were the 82nd patients. While on bed rest we got to know each other and kept tabs on the progress of these special kids.

It's Always Fun to See Friends

It's Always Fun to See Friends

We all made our way to the Convention Center where my Signing Time performance would be. Before singing Caterpillar Dreams, I introduced Josiah to everyone. It was sweet to see him on the screen behind me and to see how much he has grown since we filmed those scenes.

When most everyone had left, I noticed some bumper boats for rent nearby. Lindsey and I put everything in the car and then ran down to rent bumper boats.

Bring it!

Bring it!

There was an option to rent water guns as well. At first we loved the idea, but on second thought… that water looked uncomfortably brown.

The Eye of The Tiger

The Eye of The Tiger

We packed up and decided to drive some more. The landscape was eerily familiar and we realized that this must be where they filmed the movie Goonies.

Tell Me That Rock is Not From Goonies

Tell Me That Rock is Not From Goonies

A google search later that evening confirmed that hunch. For what it’s worth Kindergarten Cop was also filmed in that area.

After that we went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream cones.

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory


We toured the factory and of course tried out the samples. My favorite? Horseradish Cheddar.
Don't Forget the Extra Cheese!

Don't Forget the Extra Cheese!


When the factory closed, we drove to Portland, since we were flying out in the morning.

I love Oregon! I know, I have said it before, but I do. That place just speaks to my soul. The greens are so green! The landscape transitions so abrupt. Who puts a beach right next to a forest?

The Coast is Calling

The Coast is Calling

I have loved traveling for the Signing Time events in Salem and Klamath last year and when I was 19, my girl friend, Jessica and I had hopped in my VW Bus and drove to Eugene on a whim.

I am trying to figure out the best way to get more of Oregon? Should we take a week or two and drive the coast this summer? Camp? Camper? Bed & Breakfast? Should we move to the coast for a month? What is the best way to get more Oregon? Should I sign up for the STP 2010 (Seattle to Portland Bike Race).

I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, and even worse I don’t know why! Something is pulling me toward Oregon.

A Weekend In Oregon

Oregon is Beautiful

Oregon is BEAUTIFUL! <--------- I know that is a complete blanket statement and that it is probably not possible for ALL of Oregon to be beautiful, but so far I have no evidence to the contrary. See, I have spent the past few days in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Lindsey did not come with me since she is busy gallivanting around somewhere in Greece. I imagine she is island hopping, eating Mediterranean food and probably looking for some tall, dark and handsome Greek man. I think she does it to taunt me, see I have never been to Greece and I have been talking about it a lot this year. I have had my eye on Mediterranean Cruises, but have not booked one. She MUST be over paid, I wonder if we can scale that back a bit… Hmmm, I will look into it.

The point is, Lindsey was not in Klamath Falls enjoying the autumn colors and the rain and the beauty, she was in Greece, which I am sure is also beautiful but in a very different, possibly warmer way. When this travel conflict first was noticed, Lindsey asked me to pick her “runner up” or shall we say understudy? Well, there are only about 8 people who work at Signing Time, (I am not kidding) and three of them are related to me, so I see enough of them.

This Klamath trip was a bit longer than usual do to the fact that there is one tiny airport with one gate with only one flight each day <——-that might not be true). I would be there 4 days <—-that IS true). I drew a name out of a hat, (no I didn’t) and that person was Jessica. Jessica is a lot like Lindsey, (not at all) in that she is single – (sort of), her “boyfriend” lives in “England” (yeah right) and I have never met him, (fishy) but whatever. So, Jessica handed over her Frequent Flyer number and I checked to see if she had a preference of sharing a bed with me or not – since Lindsey always wants to snuggle. (You know I am teasing right?) And Jessica gave up her FF digits and I booked our weekend+ in Oregon.

We arrived at one of the world’s smallest airports and were met by Lisa. Lisa is really the reason we came to Klamath Falls. One of her boys has autism and his communication and world opened up through Signing Time. Lisa was determined to get me to Klamath Falls. Most people on her committee thought she was certifiable, I mean, there are plenty of people around who can talk about sign language, why bring in this, “Rachel Coleman” chick? Lisa was undeterred. She heard “no” – “No” – “NO” – “NO!” and she still didn’t stop. Lisa just answered, “We WILL have Rachel.”

Lisa came to the airport bearing chocolate covered strawberries. Thank you very much! She and her family took us out for dinner and gave us maps with our complete trip highlighted – to our hotel – to the elementary school – to the community college. After dinner, Jessica and I set out to the Running Y Ranch, where we were staying. IF by chance you are ever in or near Klamath… stay at the Running Y! It was STUNNING!

View from our room at the Running Y Ranch

View from our room at the Running Y Ranch

They have an ice skating rink which Jessica and I were ALL for, except it was set to open the day after we left 🙁 The restaurant, The Ranch House was some of the best food I have had in my life, and let me tell you I care a lot about good food. It was so good we ate dinner there two nights in a row. Plus as we were eating, deer came prancing by! So, I say A+ for atmosphere.

On Halloween I performed at a Literacy Fair. I sang, signed and told stories. I even slaughtered the “Happy Birthday” songs that I wrote for Signing Time as I burst into a cappella versions per request! Ha! I think I sang something like this:

“Today you will have presents, today you’ll get a cake, today you will have something, today you’ll get a snake! Today it is your birthday, your birthday all day long. Happy, Happy Birthday and here’s your birthday song!” (Then I had to stop because I had excitedly started it in a key that was way too high and I was laughing too hard!)

And that my friends is the beauty of my live performances, not only do YOU never know what is going to happen, quite honestly, I have NO idea either. See, the cute family who requested “Happy Birthday” had come to my Salem event, driving 4+ hours to be there AND came to this event, driving 2+ hours to be there, so how could I say no?

Halloween Night, Literacy Fair

Halloween Night, Literacy Fair

The following day I spoke at the Klamath Falls Chapter of The Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children (OAEYC) – I have to say that Steve the sound/tech guy was GREAT. It looked like we were going to have some technical issues, but that guy, just didn’t stop until I got what I wanted. He said that he doesn’t have kids yet, but his wife is a fan, because even though they do not have kids, she has been looking into signing and plans on signing with their some-day kids. So, Steve sort of shyly asked for a picture with me (for his wife) and admitted that he hates asking people for pictures. But let me just clear the air on that one people – Don’t even worry about asking to take pictures with me. I feel like it sort of comes with the territory… most the time. It’s just when I barely roll out of bed, pull back a pony tail, throw on flip flops, cut-offs and make a quick Costco run that I am sort of like, “Uh… really? You want a picture with this?” Marcus of course says it’s my own fault and he would DIE – DIE – DIE if he even knew that sometimes I leave the house undone… I think he believes that paparazzi care about me… which they don’t. He would also be completely undone to see pictures of me taken on different days wearing the same outfit (ST! costume excluded). Marcus cares… a lot!

Ok, back to Klamath. I gave the keynote presentation. Immediately after the presentation a woman approached me and said she had driven more than 100 miles to be at the event and if it had ended right after my presentation, she felt it would have been completely worth her time, drive and money. (How cool is that?)

It's Signing Time with Mason and Jaxon

It's Signing Time with Mason and Jaxon

Jessica and I started to head back to The Running Y and I missed my turn-off toward Medford and instead kept driving toward Keno, unbeknownst to us. After quite some time we noticed this road had more houses than our road. I don’t believe in “lost” I mean, really, taking one wrong turn is not the same as being lost! And I think EVERY trip I take includes at least one or two wrong turns and Lindsey always jumps to, “We are TOTALLY lost!” And I am like, “No we are not TOTALLY lost, we are almost right on track, we are just a little off.” And then Lindsey launches into how she is going to buy a portable GPS because she hates Google Maps. Then I say she just needs to read a few more lines of the directions at once, because those directions are always TOO detailed. Then she rolls her eyes at me. Then I remind her that my iPhone has maps and GPS so why buy another GPS. And then she tells me to learn how to use my own phone for heaven’s sake! And I say, I would, except I am the one driving!

So, since Lindsey wasn’t there to start the “We are TOTALLY lost!” conversation, the drive went like this: So, Jessica and I noticed we made a wrong turn, so we started pulling over and taking pictures of things, like bald eagles that we believe were planning on carrying off unsuspecting cows…

Bald Eagle Stakeout

Bald Eagle Stakeout

… and Red Tailed Hawks on power poles.

Red Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk

Oregonians burning piles of leaves, sticks and brush in the rain…

Burning the Brush

Burning the Brush

…we even saw a gaggle of deer playing in the woods. (I KNOW it’s not a gaggle, but how cool if they were called that?)

Deer in the woods

Deer in the woods

More deer

More deer

We saw “For Sale” signs and drove down gravel roads and looked at A-frame houses and talked about how great it would be to live off the grid. Even though technically we were still ON the grid.

We turned around and righted our ONE wrong turn and decided this time to drive PAST the Running Y and see what there was to see that way. Turned out to be a brilliant idea, because we found a lake and we pulled over and jumped out of the car to take pictures of each other in the gorgeous fall colors in the rain.

Rachel of the Lake

Rachel of the Lake

Lake, big lake!

Lake, big lake!

How very Blair Witch

How very Blair Witch

Jessica's Scarf Matches the Leaves

Jessica

This thing is supposed to be IN the water

This thing is supposed to be IN the water

Jess on the shore

Jess on the shore

Still raining on Rachel

Still raining on Rachel

The trip was great and it was nice to have a few extra days of relaxation. Usually I fly in, sleep, sing and fly out and sometimes help deliver a baby or two 😉 The odd thing is that the very first time I went to Oregon, I went in the Fall, with my best friend Jessica. That was a good 15 years ago, but even back then, my friend Jessica and I couldn’t help but jump out of the car and take pictures of each other in the gorgeous Fall leaves.

P.S. The white tailed deer in Oregon are WAY cuter than the mule deer we have in Utah. I know because there is a gaggle of mule deer that eat the leaves off the tree in front of Lucy’s and Leah’s bedroom windows all winter, each year.