family and friends reunion road trip: day five: hanging out in ashland and talent

On Monday, we started the day at the Ashland Dog Park. Kai and Cookie had a great time. It was their second time there, and they were more comfortable and up for socializing. There were lots of beautiful dogs of all sizes, and people were friendly but not intrusive. Just lovely. It's also so wonderful to see our dogs are completely relaxed around other dogs -- no fear, no aggression whatsoever.

We went into Ashland and met my mother, my sister, and two nieces for lunch. Unfortunately this meant leaving the dogs in the car. Of course the windows were all open, but it was still very hot. Lunch was fun, but we were glad to get them back to the air-conditioned cottage.

After hanging out for a while, we went back to my brother and sister-in-law's, and hung out on the deck. The group kept growing, so we had the chance to visit with lots of folks. Wine bottles and water jugs were plentiful. Leftover chicken, lamb, shrimp, and tempeh appeared. The grand-niece came home from camp and entertained us. As it grew late, the group dwindled until we all finally went to bed.

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The VRBO cottage was perfect, and it turned out to be a five-minute drive to my brother and sister-in-law's place. There are dog-friendly hotels everywhere these days, but having a little house is the best. Five stars all around for this host. 

It is very hot here, but so dry! I marvel at being outside in 28, 30, 32 C degree weather without sweating and without being too uncomfortable. I am usually overheated at 25 C. It also cools down at night, so sitting outside is lovely. That's also different! In NYC and the GTA, when it's super hot and humid during the day, it will stay that way all night, too, so there's no relief.

It will be much cooler and more humid in the Bay Area. I love San Francisco and am excited to be going back. It was also a lot easier to say goodbye to the Oregon crew, knowing we would see them on our way back. 

With two of the couples -- one niece and spouse who live in California and one nephew and spouse who live in New Jersey -- I had to say goodbye for who knows how long. I'm grateful I spent some time with them in the last few days. But I wish I could see them more often.

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