Transporting Wine Bottles Safely with Snuggy Sox

Steve and I like to shop at the “Bent Can Store.” That’s just a nickname we call it. In Portland, OR, the actual name for this kind of store is “Everyday Deals.”  There’s one in every town. You can google them under the category “salvage groceries.” Also called damaged, bulk or surplus groceries – the category name is a little fuzzy. That’s why we like to call it The Bent Can Store. A couple websites try to keep current lists of all salvage grocery stores by state and city.

Anyway, what you get is the most amazing, fun shopping ever. We never go there to do our regular shopping. We never go with a list. We only go there on what we call grocery treasure hunts. You never know what wild and crazy things you will find.

On our last trip, we got classy, name-brand wines for $3 a bottle!!! Regular price $10 and up. Steve got thirty!! bottles, all different types. He’s set for a whole year. Regular price, $300. His price, $90. I found humongous, fresh blackberries for 25 cents a box. Regular $4.50. A treat I rarely allow myself. I got four boxes for a buck. Savings $18. Now tell me this isn’t fun! I could go on and on about our outrageous buys. We cackle going out the door hulking over our booty like thieving pirates.

Now before we go any further. . .all you squeemish people out there?. . .I can hear you loud and clear, gasping about expired dates. Just hear me out, okay?

If you are a stickler about eating food out of date, just check. Many items are just dented or scratched, not expired. We make a point never to buy any dry goods, like cereal, flour, bagged potato chips, etc. These go stale quickly, and may – might – transport critters to your pantry.

If you’re worried, buy things you can see and squeeze, like produce. You’ll be amazed at the fantastic buys on produce, cheeses, kombucha, fresh yakasoyba noodles. It’s different every time. If you go back for seconds, it likely will be gone. They have great buys on blended spices, like seafood and steak rubs. I got a $20 bottle of saffron for $5.

Bent can stores can have lots of exotic foods from gourmet stores — things you could or would never afford, usually. But regular shoppers around here are on hard times and shopping basic. They pass right over the exotic stuff like saffron, wine, balsamic vinegar. We find alot of organic items, including delicious soups. I got some teas packed into cute silver foil sticks or wands. Just drop them into your cup of boiling water and twirl. In two minutes you have a lovely cup of tea. 

So give the bent can store a try. At least it’s worth one trip. The store in your area might be sad or scary, but the one in Portland is large, fresh and amazing.

By the way, how do you transport 30 bottles of wine down the highway without having a vino catastrophe? On the drive home from the store, our bottles were clanging up a storm. We could tell that any serious bump or hard braking would be disaster. The bays on our bus are full.

 So I went to my sock drawer, pulled out all my white summer tennis socks and gave each wine bottle a snuggy sweater to wear. Now we are packed and ready to go. Don’t you agree. . .we RVer’s as a group are darn inventive, problem solving types.

 

Big Little Newport, OR

They say Newport is the largest town on the coast so I thought I might find a mall hiding somewhere with a Kohls in it. But no, silly me. When they say big, they mean big by coastal standards. Highway 101 runs north and south and ends up being the main street in each of these charming towns. Each one has its own unique personality. But don’t look for shopping malls off to the east.  A barrier of mountains and wilderness stands between the coast and central Oregon, where the real metro areas of Portland, Salem, Eugene and Medford run along I-5.

 

 

 

 

 

We started out the morning by plunking our butts down on some sand dunes on the Pacific, savoring our morning coffee with endless crashing waves. 

Newport is blessed with a long, glorious beach, two lighthouses, and a protected bay for safe harbor and fishing. They  are calling themselves the “Crab Capital of the World,” based on tonnage.  You can immerse yourself in the bustling fishing and crabbing industry by driving down historic SE Bay Blvd.The water side of this narrow street is thick with bustling canneries. Trucks are going in and out. Salty longshoremen are stacking crab pots by the thousands. Pots are six deep out on the sidewalk.

 

 

 

 

 Across the street is a swarm of colorful tourist shops and restaurants. Every available surface on the sides of buildings has been taken over by spectacular murals of the sea – orcas, sea lions, old salts and fishing trollers tossed in mighty seas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s catch is for sale everywhere. Get your clams, crabs, mussels, shrimp, tuna, perch – raw or cooked. It’s a miniature Fisherman’s Wharf. We had divine clam chower at Mo’s Annex.

 

 

Grandma Mo passed away but her recipes are famous. Out Mo’s window we could see five NOAA ships docked across the bay, home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s pacific fleet.

 

 

 

 

 

While strolling down the street,

 we heard the loud barking of sea lions.

Just a few steps out onto the pier

and your jaw drops at the site of a dozen

enormous sea lions hauled out on wooden planks, basking and snoozing just twenty feet below you.

 There is also a very large cage with the door open. They want the lions to come in, take a nap, and go out at will. Eventually they will get a sea lion with painful plastic or fishing line around its neck. Then they drop the gate and have the animal captured for repairs.

 We ended the day at the making photos of a beautiful sunset at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. 

 

 

 

 

Down below the lighthouse, just offshore, are herds of seals, sea lions and pelicans posing on their favorite rocks. These haul-out areas are strictly protected from human interference by the BLM. If you’re lucky – we weren’t – you can see whales going up and down the coast. They migrate 8,000 miles to Baja in December and then swim back to the Bering Sea in March/April. You were complaining about your long commute?!

 

 Little Newport also boasts one of the top ten aquariums in the US. No coincidence this town also has one of the best marine research facilities in the nation. All marine students from Oregon State University end up studying here. The center is open to the public and we could easily spend a few days there too.

We got out of our car at the end of the day and this is the view we saw from BessyBus. It’s the Yaquina Bay Bridge on 101, downtown Newport.

 – carol ann dwyer