Once again this year, we headed southwest to Newport, Oregon and South Beach State Park for the Rogue Brewery’s Memorial Ale Fest. Brewer was the beloved Rogue black lab mascot who worked his way up to CEO. After his death the brewery began throwing an annual doggie brew fest in his memory.
South Beach State Park, quite frankly, is not a park we often visit, due to it’s long walk from the campground to the beach. However, with the usual great state park facilities, extensive walking and biking paths, and an easy 1.5mile walk to Rogue Brewery, located under the expansive bridge leading to the Newport Marina, it is easily the lodging of choice for the Memorial Brew Fest.
With a forecast featuring mostly grey and rain, we were eager to try out all the features on our new camper, having just installed a side awning and gotten the back awning fixed. LED rope lights under the cabinets would provide additional lighting. Friday night, at least, luck was with us and the clouds parted on our way out of Portland and we were thrilled to have a dry drive to the ocean. After a lovely sunset walk on the beach and dinner around the campfire, it was early to bed at the end of a long week.
It rained hard through the night and we anticipated a wet walk to the brew fest but much of the day remained dryish, albeit very overcast. The camper had proven dry and cozy and even a rainy morning walk along the jetty couldn’t dampen our spirits. Last year the Brewers Memorial hosted around 900 dogs and this year seemed smaller but it might have been simply the change of set up at Rogue. With the forecast, almost all of the booths were inside, with a tent placed in the courtyard for seating. What seemed very curious was the lack of a working ATM on site but this fact caused a random meeting that became a perfect “pay it forward” moment.
I had taken $50 cash us to the event, thinking this would get us started on our beer consumption, provide for lunch, and perhaps a hat for Jim. Silly me, assuming that Rogue, hosting an event for thousands of people, would actually be sure their ATM in the brewery was up and running. We enjoyed several beer tastings, had some BBQ, and perused the booths and were sitting at a table speaking to two other couples, when it was my turn to get the next round. On the way I stopped at Rogue Creamery’s booth to buy some of their delightful smoked blue cheese to go with our dinner, and arrived at the ticket table, prepared to surrender my card for more beer tickets. Imagine my surprise to find that not only did they not have a credit card machine but also no square OR a working ATM. Seriously? At a huge beer tasting event, no capability to get more money from patrons?
I headed back to the table with my cheese, reluctant to tell Jim that we had cheese instead of beer tickets, but did offer up my one last dollar for him to go and get a final beer for himself. As he jokingly chastised me for having my priorities screwed up the man whom I’d been speaking to before I went off on my erroneous mission, pulled out his wallet and handed over a $10 bill to Jim. Bill Frosty offered up this beer money, with his only request being that we check out his website, The Red Woodsy, to see his gorgeously carved redwood furniture at his shop in McMinneville. Whether he knows it or not, he became my hero for the day. Not because he gave us another $10 worth of beer which we didn’t really need, having a fully stocked fridge in the camper, but because in his generosity to total strangers, he was the epitome of the type of person performing kind works we aspire to be ourselves. So, Bill, cheers to you for being being a really nice guy!
In addition, I must say, I am just loving the new camper. With no top to be raised and lowered, the ease of set-up is a lovely change, and with solid walls we have been able to make it our own, incorporating photos and mementos from afar:
Another weekend of lots of physical activity and doggie events did us all in and the four of us climbed into bed together on the rainy Saturday afternoon for a refreshing nap. I felt absolutely content, the whole family cuddled together as the rain pattered on our roof. The dogkids were especially exhausted and stayed in bed even while I made dinner! Not an easy feat w/ our ever enthusiastic Aspen.
Another excellent weekend at camp, with many more to come. Life is good.