Posted by: vlbyers | August 7, 2011

Exerience Gold Hill, Oregon

Vicki making some shade

Watching rafters navigate whitewater on the Rogue

Colin and Angela

Jordyn, Mark and Angela

We needed a ‘chill’ day after several days activities of rafting the rogue, visit to the Oregon Caves, Ashland, bike rides, tennis playing and the driving it takes to get from here to there so we decided to have a ‘Gold hill’ day.
Gold hill is where my brother lives in Oregon. It is a small town which is laid back, friendly and where most everyone knows everyone else and is also known for some of its colorful characters and the colorful circumstances that sometimes take place when you are just hanging out. There is a pizza place, a bike shop, a grocery store, a real estate shop, a thrift store and a gas station. There is a mobile home park and a place you can rent kayaks and boats to float the river. There is a middle school, a nice bike riding trail, and a boat launch in the day park along with some tennis courts. There are a few other shops, some closed and some for sale but it definitely fits the description of a small town.
Our day began at the local ‘beach’ which is only about a 5 min drive from Marks house, on the river. The river widens here a bit and so there isn’t much river current, makes for a very ‘chill’ place on a hot day. We donned our swim suits, although I am not sure any one of us were planning to ‘swim’ in the icy water, packed a cooler and some chairs and towels and were on our way.
After picking out our spot next to the river some of us grabbed our chairs, laid out on the towels to grab some rays or carefully tested the water, enjoying our company and observing our beach mates. There seemed to be about 5-7 different groups, along with 3 dogs, enjoying the beach and water. This is a public park called a ‘family park’ on the sign and among the rules were keeping dogs on a leash and no alcoholic beverages. The dogs were, for the most part, well-behaved although I didn’t see a leash and after the sheriff patrol boat made its run past the park, the ‘beverages’ came out strong. We also noticed quite a bit of smoke rising from one of the groups which had an ‘odd’ smell, hmmm.
Well other than the guy who jumped off the 50ft bridge, 2ce, there was only the usual goings on of kids and adults enjoying the sunny day, dogs chasing sticks and rocks and kids swimming in the water. Larry and I stayed out of the sun, much different from the others who were the ‘sun seekers’, but our river/beach time was quite relaxing and a much-needed break.
Next on the agenda would be grabbing showers and heading to the local winery, Del Rio, for a concert under the stars. We made a quick, portable dinner, packed the chairs and blankets in the truck for the quick 5 minute trip to the winery. After moving a picnic table to some shade since it was still hot and setting our chairs for the best view of the stage we were ready to relax, have some wine and dinner and listen to the band.
Mercy, a 5 person band, gave us a great show for almost 3 hours, our dinner was perfect as was the company. Spending the evening with our family couldn’t be more enjoyable, but wait there is more!!
Mark said a visit to Gold Hill wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the local bar, Longbranch, wow I feel like I am back in the old west, I don’t ever recall going to the Longbranch saloon, so this would be an event. Since it was a Friday night we would have the best chance of catching some real action. In the saloon there is a bar with bar stools, go figure, several tables and a pool table, in the back is the karaoke machine where the songs were being belted out. A drink that this tavern mixes up is called ‘bong-water’, we heard from my niece that she thinks she enjoyed this the last time she was here although she couldn’t recall anything after drinking it. Mark described them as the color of the water after you rinsed your watercolor brush, he ordered several, I had a sip, interesting-sweet and strong. We listened to as much karaoke as we could take, downed the drinks and left for home.
Mark had promised the girls that he would make our mom’s famous cheese cake, and since Angela and Colin would be leaving tomorrow, his time to get to work had come. He spent an hour putting together his masterpiece while Larry played the guitar. Vicki, Mark’s girlfriend lit the fire and the tiki torches in the back so we all could enjoy the rest of the evening.
The day was complete, it was fun, relaxing and exciting. It had certainly had met our ‘chill day’ expectations. But wait there is still more!!!
We were snuggled in our beds, sound asleep when sometime around 2 am we awoke to a booming voice saying ‘Jackson county sheriff, come out with your hands up’. Jumping up to the window we struggled to see what was going on. It took a few moments to realize the searchlights were illuminating a house only 2 away. The sheriff was yelling and banging on the door attempting to rouse the inhabitants with the news that he had a search warrant. This went on for several seconds before we heard the door crashing in. After several minutes of muffled yelling we heard a female voice and talking toward the rear of the house. No gunshots were fired and we didn’t see anyone being carted off in handcuffs but this was nonetheless quite an exciting finish to our Gold Hill day.
Thanks Bro!

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