A Summer Friday Night in a Small Town

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July 24, 2010

As we travel across the country in our Motorhome (we are full-timers), we find ourselves staying in a variety of locations.  We spent Friday evening in a small town, where they have a number of activities during the summer.  We are in Winchester Bay, Oregon, which is about 4 miles from Reedsport and both are on the Umpqua River (with a total population of less than 5,000).

The first activity was my wife’s daily walk to feed Henry.  Henry has recently become the unofficial mascot of the marina.

Apparently, someone pulled up in a car and dumped Henry at the edge of the water.  He chased the car for over a block before he gave up.  By the way, Henry is a friendly goose (I think he is a goose).  At least he appears to be well taken care of since he arrived.  You can tell it is a small town, because it would be difficult in a large city to find a goose living off the kindness of the residents and tourists.

On her walk she also retrieves the daily Coffee Break, which is a newsletter that lets you know what is going on in the area—including all the police calls from the day before (normally there are 3-4 of them!). The Coffee Break is how we learned about the event tonight called “Tip a Cop.”  There is a local restaurant (Bedrock’s; with 2 locations) where the police officers and dispatchers are waiting on the tables and all the tips go to the Special Olympics in Oregon.  This is a statewide effort and it was a fun way to raise money for this worthwhile charity.  Here is the great part about participating in a small town (we attended the Winchester Bay location).  While this event caused the restaurant to be busier than normal, we were still able to find a place to sit and the “waiters” had time to chat with the customers.  In larger cities, activities like this often resemble cattle drives, with long lines, long waits, and no interaction with the participants.

The next activity on the agenda, according to the Coffee Break, was Riverfront Rhythms.  This is a free concert at the Umpqua Discovery Center.  The entertainment tonight was provided by the Oregon Coast Lab Band, Evolution.  This was a group of middle and high school students playing big band music.  They were very good.  Not only did they play the music, two of them demonstrated swing dancing and one donned his zoot suit and sang a couple of songs.

Again, the advantage of attending in a small town is that this took place on the lawn of the Discovery Center.  The lawn was not completely full (I would guess less than 200 people attended), so there was plenty of room for everyone to sit and enjoy the music, and the children had room to play in the grass.  The people we sat next to started up a conversation and we learned a lot of background information about the band, the event, and the center (yes, small town gossip, which is the best kind).  Events like this in large cities become so crowded that they are difficult to enjoy.

One advantage of the RV lifestyle is getting to experience many different places, and small towns offer some distinct pleasures without the overly large crowds you experience in larger venues.

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  1. Hoby

    Jennifer, I have not been to Idaho for over 20 years, so do not have any tips that are current (I was going to recommend Twin Falls, on the Snake River–think Evil Kneivel–and close to Shoshone Falls, but I just checked and it is has a population of 42,000 now). I will be in Idaho later this summer, though, so hope to find some places that are enjoyable. Thanks, Hoby

  2. Jennifer Batte

    I love small towns. Do you know of any places we should visit in the state of Idaho? I know, I know… it’s all small towns, huh? No really, we’re visiting there next month and we’d love a tip!