A Fishing Trip With a Twist

IMG_3025

Yesterday, Rob tried fishing off the rocks in Yaquina Bay again.  Finally, he caught something!

IMG_3026

But it wasn’t  what he expected to catch!  He ended up landing a lovely Dungeness crab!  Better yet, it was a male and was large enough to keep!

I know what we are having for dinner soon:)

Salmon River Fish Hatchery

IMG_3008

Today, we went to a fish hatchery on the Salmon River, near Lincoln City, Oregon.  As you come over the Coastal Range, the road winds along the Salmon River.  We turned off and visited the fish hatchery.  There are many hatcheries in Oregon, and we love to visit them, but realized we had never taken Patsy to see one.

IMG_3020

First, we visited the long, rectangular “ponds” where they put the little fingerlings to grow them large enough to release into the river.  Most of the tanks were empty.  A ranger told us that they are much busier in the fall when the adult fish are spawning and the workers are collecting eggs.  This tank had thousands of baby salmon in it.  If you look carefully, you can see a tiny fish jumping in the second stream of water from the right.  These fish are great jumpers and we were greatly entertained watching them vainly try to jump over the “waterfall” at the end of the tank.

IMG_3024

After that, we walked over to the river itself and gazed down on the spot where they fenced the river off.  Right now, no salmon are running, but when they are, the fence will divert at least part of  them into the fish ladder where they jump up to the holding area and their eggs can be harvested by the workers.  They fertilize the eggs and then raise many more baby fish, which will then be released into the wild, keeping the salmon population up.

It was a fun stop for all of us.

South Beach State Park-Newport

IMG_2988

This week we are at South Beach State Park in Newport.  It is quite a bit south from Ft. Stevens, where we were last week, and is on the central Oregon coast.  We did land at my sister’s house for a few days in-between the 2 campgrounds, where we got the garden in shape, picked produce, grocery shopped and spent Sunday going to church and with family.

At South Beach State Park, there are no full hook-ups, only electric and water.  Therefore, we are using the central bathrooms as much as possible, especially for showers so our tanks don’t get too full.  There is a place to empty those tanks after our stay.

So far, we went for a family bike ride yesterday, and the girls literally rode for miles today. The bike/hike trail leads to the South Beach Jetty.

Today, Rob and the girls went out and caught some sand shrimp during the early morning low tide for bait.  Then he went fishing off the rocks at the jetty while the girls rode around on their bikes and I watched.

IMG_2990

He used his biggest pole and put 2 sand shrimps on 2 hooks.  He was worried that the pole was too big for the job, and spent some time using a smaller one, only to return to this stronger one.  He got several good, strong bites, but did not catch a fish.  No one else we saw caught one, either, and we were there for a couple of hours.  Then, a seal came along and scared the fish away, we presume, since there were no more bites after that.    Rob has fished off the rocks before, in the ocean, but it has been many years since he had time for it.  It was fun, but would have been even more fun if he had caught something!  It was a lovely day, though, and I really enjoyed looking at the boats going in and out of Yaquina Bay, the bridge, the blueness of the water and the birds and tiny crabs scuttling around the rocks right below where we were sitting.

IMG_2995

IMG_3001IMG_3003

Camper Cooking–Clam Chowder

IMG_2919

We went clamming again and limited out!  That was fun.  In the end, I had quite a few clams to work with.  I decided to make clam chowder.  The last time we caught clams, and we fried them, they were quite tough.  Very chewy, in fact.  This time, I decided to mince them up in my mini-chop and see if that would help.  It did.  The chowder came out great.

Here’s what I did:

6 potatoes, chopped

1/4 white onion, diced

1 cup 1/2 and 1/2

1 cup milk

20 clams, cleaned and minced (about 3/4-1 cup clams)

salt and pepper to taste

Put the potatoes and onions in a large pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Start with a good sprinkle of pepper and about 1 teaspoon salt.  Put about 3/4-1 inch water in the bottom and cover.  Steam the potatoes and onions until tender, about 20 minutes.  (Start on high until it boils, and then turn down and simmer)

Add minced clams and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add milk and 1/2 and 1/2.  Turn on low.  Warm milk and 1/2 and 1/2 until nice and warm, but do not boil once the dairy products are added.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Put a pat of butter on top right before serving, if desired.

You can tweak this recipe according to what you have.  It is VERY forgiving.  If you want it runnier, add more milk. If you want more potatoes, use more.  If you have canned clams, use those instead, along with the juice that is in the can(s).  If you have milk, but not 1/2 and 1/2, use all milk.  For a lower-fat version, use skim milk.  If you do that, you may need to thicken it a bit with a small amount of flour.  The way I thickened this was steaming the potatoes with a small amount of water.  The potato starch was released into the water, and that was enough.  If it had been too runny, I would have used a small amount of sweet rice flour, since I am gluten-free.

The way I did it, it made about 6 servings.  It was great.

An Amazing Fishing Trip

IMG_2938

This morning, we had an amazing fishing trip!  We are back at Ft. Stevens for a few days.  Rob and Patsy got up early and went over to Coffenbury Lake, which is very close to the campground.  They fished for a while, and then I walked over to join them.  It quickly became apparent that the fish were biting!!!  In fact, Rob had just finished his 5-fish limit right before I got there.  I had Rob run back to the camper in the van and grab my fishing license, which I had forgotten over there.  While he was gone, I helped Patsy continue to fish.

IMG_2932

She got 2 more while he was gone. We were sharing the dock with another man, and he said he did not eat trout, and asked if I wanted the one he caught.  I accepted happily!

Rob came back with Ja’Ana, who chose to read a book instead, and then patiently waited while Patsy finished her limit.  At this point, I had still not caught a single fish, but finally got one as Patsy was finishing.  I wondered if they had stopped biting and if I was too late.  Much to my surprise, I was able to limit out, too.  It took me about an hour.  We were using rainbow power bait.  We have had success with that in other places, as well, and the fish sure loved it today.

We went back to the campsite with a total of 18 fish–15 from the 3 of us who fished, and 3 from the kind man on the dock.

I baked 2 of them for lunch immediately.  After they were cleaned, I sprinkled the insides with Lowrie’s seasoning salt, and laid them on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  I baked them in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, de-boned and served.  I poured garlic-butter on them as a sauce.  It was left over from the garlic bread I made to serve with them.  I also had ranch dressing for those who wanted that.  (I didn’t have time to make tartar sauce today)

I froze 2 ziplocks of 4-fish each, kept 1 bag out for dinner in the next couple of days, and gave 4 to the people camped next to us.  They were really happy to have some, and we were happy we had so many and could share.  We had such a pleasant time fishing and it was very fun to catch so many.  We hope to do it again, soon.

Meltdown Pasta Salad

FullSizeRender

I needed to make a salad for a birthday celebration for 3 of our girls on Monday night.  I came up with this pasta salad.  I’m still adjusting to cooking with limited ingredients in the tiny camper, but am making progress.  I was very pleased with how this came out.

I named it Meltdown Pasta Salad for several reasons.

  1. It was super hot that day.
  2. One of our freezers failed and melted down.   It was in Rob’s mom’s garage, and we discovered it and had to clean it up that morning.
  3. I could not find some needed ingredients for my usual pasta salad, having not put them into the camper–so therefore, they were in storage.  That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I had a meltdown.

The salad came out great, and so did the evening.  It is gluten-free because that’s what I can eat, but it could be made with regular pasta.

Mix the following in a bowl.

1 box rice rotini, cooked and drained

1 can mushrooms, drained

1 can olives, sliced

1 red onion, chopped

1 cup spinach leaves, sliced into little ribbons

1 tomato, diced

4 basil leaves, sliced into little ribbons

Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Several grinds of garlic/salt in a grinder

Pour some dressing on and mix.  Taste to see if there is enough dressing.  When you have reached the point where you like the amount of dressing, put the rest in a container in the fridge for another day.

This made enough to feed 8 people who took large helpings, and there was a little left over.  I would say 10-12 servings.

Multnomah Falls

IMG_2832

IMG_2829

Our summer of adventure continued with a journey up the Columbia River Gorge on our way to visit our friends in Eastern Oregon.  We took time to stop at a few places along the way.  The first place was Multnomah Falls.  We had not stopped for many years and really wanted to.

IMG_2828

The walk from the parking lot was beautiful.  There were countless signs warning us to “leave our valuables in the car.”  When I got up to the base of the waterfall and saw another sign, I turned to Rob and said “I’m assuming you got your most valuable possessions out of the car.”  Bless his heart, he looked at me blankly, and said “I HAVE my children and you.  As long as I have you, everything else is extra.”  I was touched by his response.  I guess that’s one of the reasons we’ve been married for over 33 years.

IMG_2834

Patsy and I wanted to hike up the trail to the little bridge.  When we got to the top, this was the view of the little waterfall.

IMG_2835

This was the view out over the Columbia River.

Ja’Ana did not care to hike up.  She was concerned that the bridge did not look sturdy enough to hold itself up.  Rob cheerfully stayed behind with her while Patsy and I hiked up.  The path was fairly short, but did have switchbacks because we were heading up the hill.  We heard reports from others that if we had continued on the trail farther, it was “very steep.”

After hiking back down, we went into the small visitor’s center and looked around, and then walked back out to the parking lot.  It was only a short hike, but it got the kinks out of our legs for the next portion of the journey.  I would recommend it!