Monthly Archives: August 2016

Back on the Road

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Cindy and I have dinner at the Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant near Silver Lake Oregon.

Cindy and I have dinner at the Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant near Silver Lake Oregon.

Our volunteer summer job is over and it’s time to hit the road again. Just like clockwork, most of the nesting birds have left so the rocks off the beach are bare save for a few gulls and cormorants. We did spend our last weekend helping out at Simpson Reef where we pointed out seals and whales to the tourists.

Multiple grey whales were feeding close to shore at Simpson Reef near Charleston, OR.

Multiple grey whales were feeding close to shore at Simpson Reef near Charleston, OR.

Four types of seals were hanging out at Simpson Reef on our last visit: elephant seals, harbor seals, California sea lions and Stellar sea lions. I failed to take a still photo of the seals so here’s a short video I made showing mostly California sea lions at Simpson Reef:

During our last week in Bandon, I spotted this tufted puffin emerging from a burrow. I took a series of still photos and created the following animated gif:

Our fellow volunteers named this guy the “cuckoo puffin” since he/she would periodically emerge then return to this burrow.

Our fellow volunteers named this guy the “cuckoo puffin” since he would periodically emerge then return to his burrow.

Today – Friday, August 12 – Summer Lake Oregon

We left Bandon yesterday for the 280 mile drive to Summer Lake OR. Summer Lake is in south central Oregon and the weather here is hot. Even at 4,000 feet, the highs are in the mid-90’s, a stark contrast to the mid-50’s we experienced all summer in Bandon.

When making our campsite reservation a few weeks ago at the Ana Reservoir RV Park, I was intrigued by a link on their website to a nearby restaurant called the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Any place with the word cowboy in its title is worthy of serious consideration. A whole baked chicken or a 30 ounce steak are the only 2 entree choices. Reservations are required and you must order in advance when making your reservation.  Yelp gives it great reviews so I made us a reservation for 7 PM. I ordered the chicken for Cindy and the steak for me.

The Cowboy Dinner Restaurant is about 5 miles off the highway from Silver Lake OR also known as the middle of nowhere.

The Cowboy Dinner Restaurant is about 5 miles off the highway from Silver Lake also known as the middle of nowhere.

Cowboy Tree Restaurant as seen from the dirt parking lot. I'm not sure about this place.

Cowboy Tree Restaurant as seen from the dirt parking lot. I’m not sure about this place.

The parking lot is full when we arrive. Earlier today, we tried unsuccessfully to move our reservation but were informed they had a full house (a good sign). We’re here 15 minutes early so Cindy and I wander around taking in all the sights.

This building is the actual restaurant.

This building is the actual restaurant. I’m still not sure about this place.

Here's where they cook the chickens and steaks. The rest of the food is prepared indoors.

Here’s where they cook the chickens and steaks. The rest of the food is prepared indoors. My trepidation continues.

 

I'm not sure what this building is used. I guess it was someone's cabin back in the old days.

I’m not sure what this building is used for. I guess it was someone’s cabin back in the old days.

We’re seated at 7 PM sharp. The waitress confirms our order; steak for me, chicken for Cindy. We’re given a choice of drinks: water, coffee, unsweetened tea or lemonade. Our meal is fixed and will include salad, cowboy beans, yeast rolls, baked potato, our selected entree and a berry-topped shortcake with cream for desert.

This is what the inside of Cowboy Dinner Tree looks like.

This is what the inside of Cowboy Dinner Tree looks like.

We take the advice of a Yelp reviewer and fill up on salad and cowboy beans. We’ll take the rest home as leftovers.

No iceberg lettuce here. To our surprise, the salad is made with a variety of greens. So far, we like this place.

No iceberg lettuce here. To our surprise, the salad is made with a variety of greens. And as Donald Trump would say, “These mason jars are Yuge!”  So far, we like this place.

After she clears our salad plates, the waitress brings out soup bowls and what looks like a scoop of ice cream which turns out to be butter.

A big blue bowl of cowboy beans gives us 2 hefty helpings each. We only eat 1 roll and will take the rest home with us. Beans and rolls are most excellent. We definitely like this place.

A big blue bowl of cowboy beans gives us 2 hefty helpings each. We only eat 1 roll and will take the rest home with us. The beans and rolls are excellent. We definitely like this place.

Having a whole chicken as an entree is not something Cindy is used to.

Having a whole chicken as an entree is not something Cindy is used to.

Seeing a 30 ounce top sirloin as an entree is not something I used to either.

Seeing a 30 ounce top sirloin as an entree is not something I’m used to either.

We’re full from our salad and cowboy beans leaving little room for steak and chicken. Both are tender and excellent. Our leftovers will make at least 4 additional dinners at home.  I doubt will ever be through this part of the country again but if we are, then the Cowboy Dinner Tree will definitely be on our agenda.

 

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