Monday, July 6, 2015

Friendly Newport

Newport prides itself on being the 'Friendliest City,' and I have to admit the people really were welcoming.  From the medical center personnel, which I visited for excruciating lower back pain, to the Elks members, they were exceptionally nice.  (My back is feeling better now, thanks.)  We were at the Newport Elks over the holiday weekend and could watch the city fireworks right from our RV. There was a wedding reception at the lodge on Saturday, and we were even invited to attend!  We declined since that seemed just a little too weird.

The wonderful lady at the visitors center wasn't even supposed to be there, but decided it shouldn't be closed on a holiday and came to work.  She was terrific at suggesting short hikes for us.  The first was a pretty woodland hike that began at Agate Beach.  It was called the Ocean to Bay Trail.

We started at the Agate Beach parking lot and, as soon as we crossed under hwy 101, we were in the woods.

We only went about a mile before turning around.  Obviously there was a lot of work done on this trail.  Just look at the detail on this bridge!

After our refreshing stroll, we drove north to see more coastal sights.  Yaquina Head Lighthouse is Oregon's tallest at 93 feet.  Now this is what a lighthouse should look like.

It continues to operate with its original lens.

There was a naturalist in the parking lot with a scope on a resident peregrine falcon.  That was cool.  Sorry no picture.

Just offshore is one of the largest common murre colonies on the coast.  This is just a small sample.

(I think there are a few cormorants in the upper left of this picture.)

We stopped at the Cape Foulweather viewpoint where the best place to take a picture is through the window inside the gift shop.

The tree atop this rock must be 30 feet in height.  Amazing.

And we stopped at Devil's Punchbowl, which requires more talent that I have to photograph.  The punchbowl is that hole on the right and the waves enter through two arches.  The water swirls madly around, especially at high tide.

Another day we hiked the Mike Miller Trail, located about a mile south of Newport.  It was an interesting one mile loop which climbed over forested sand dunes, into a forest of beautiful sitka spruce.

On our way home, we stopped to view another of McCullough's fabulous bridges, the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

And the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse which was built in 1871, but only used for three years.  In 1996, it was made operational again.  What the heck did the poor ships do in the intervening 122 years?  Maybe if we had taken the tour we would have found out.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Florence and Waldport

We spent two nights at Three Rivers Casino in Florence and couldn't believe how many RVers were taking advantage of their free parking.  It's a nice little casino with a huge parking lot.

In the area is the most-photographed lighthouse in Oregon, or so we read.  I think that might be because it's so hard to get a good picture of Heceta Lighthouse.  On our previous trip, it was so fogged in, I could barely see it.  This time, it was just a dreary day.

The highlight of our stay was meeting up with school friends of Ron's in Eugene.  I swear that everybody from his little hometown is just so nice.  Just like Ron.

We chuckled when a tow truck brought a large RV into the casino parking lot.  What were they thinking?  About 15 minutes later, they left.  Did they just have to stop at the casino and play a couple hands on the way to the repair facility?  Did they have to win some money to pay the driver?  We'll never know.

Soon we were once again moving up the coast with me snapping pictures out the windshield.  You'd be surprised how many of those pictures I delete, but it keeps me occupied.

Arriving in Waldport, we pulled into the Moose Lodge.  (I bet you thought I was going to say Elks.)  They are not as prepared for RVs, but they did have a few spots out back.  We settled in for two nights.

The lodge is right in the heart of this tiny town and we could walk everywhere.  We managed the block and a half to the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center.

Unlike the rest of the Oregon coastal bridges designed by Conde McCullough, this one was replaced in 1991.  The movie showing this process was pretty interesting.  This is the original bridge built in 1936.

And this is the 'new' Alsea Bay Bridge.  Although not a carbon copy, you can see they tried to follow the general design.

And they did save the iconic end pillars that seem to be on all the bridges.

What do you think the answer is to this question?

Answer:  No longer than it's going to take us.

The second night at the Moose, we were invaded by three more RVs and a boat.  This was the view out our front window after they all parked.

Really!  I was out the door like a shot, explaining, as nicely as I could, that I would not be able to sleep a wink being trapped in like that.  First they looked at me like I was crazy, but they did move so we would have a clear path.  I was still not happy being so close to rigs on both sides, but I just had to deal with that.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Coos Bay Area

We moved north to Bluebill Campground in Oregon Dunes NRA - a nice little-used campground.  On our way, we drove over the Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge.  The cantilever truss bridge is 5,305 feet long, which was the longest along the coast when it was built in 1936.

Once over the bridge, the GPS announced that we'll be making a left turn in the middle of the next bridge.

It turned out to be two causeways, but it did give us a start for a minute.

Bluebill Campground fit all our requirements, and had a nice mile trail around Bluebill Lake.

The campground host was very self-motivated: he landscaped the outhouse.

We went to pretty Shore Acres State Park.  What a place!

It seems we visited at a good time.  There were still some azaleas in bloom.

The hydrangeas were just starting their show.

There were dahlias.

As well as some more unusual plants like this monkey puzzle tree.

And an evergreen dogwood tree.

There was a pond with water lilies.

But the real stars of the park are the roses.  I always like the two-toned ones.

More pretty roses.

So pretty.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cape Blanco

As you might have noticed, we've been having really nice weather.  With no sign of that nasty coastal fog for several days now, I thought we were finally out of that pattern.  Today's blue sky was no exception when we left Gold Beach to drive 40 miles to Cape Blanco State Park.

At the halfway point, we stopped to rest at a pullout with a lovely view of Humbug Mountain.  What a great name that is!

Continuing on our way, we made the turn for Cape Blanco, situated at Oregon's most western point, and there it was.

Well, I can certainly see why they need a lighthouse!

So we found a spot for the RV in the campground, which, surprisingly, wasn't foggy at all, and drove back to helpful Port Orford.

At Port Orford Heads State Park, we walked the headlands trail to several nice viewpoints.  The only fog was way out in the ocean . . .

Until we looked back north to Cape Blanco.

Ron spotted the seals on the rocks far below.

I think they're smiling.

Everything in Oregon just seems so pretty and green.

Although Ron is the sign reader, I did find this one about the coastline to be interesting.  I'll split it into two so you can read it.

Gee, I wonder how big Florida was.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wrap It Up

We really enjoyed our stay in Gold Beach.  Every morning we watched the jet boat tours head up the Rogue River.  We briefly thought about taking one, but the shortest tour is 5 1/2 hours.  Even with a stop for lunch, that's just too long in a boat.  And I like boats!

We drove up Jerry's Flat Road to about the 10-mile mark and followed the turnoff sign for Frances Shrader Old Growth Trail.  After a long two-mile climb, we finally arrived.  We had not really expected much, because, after all, we had seen all those redwood trees, but we were impressed.

The stars of this forest are the Douglas fir trees which can live 600 years,

And the lovely Port Orford cedar trees, which can live to 1000 years, but are being killed by a disease that infects the roots.  I love cedars.  Just look at the interesting bark on a mature tree and the foliage from a young one.

We were surprised to see wild bleeding heart

The trail brochure pointed this out as an old trail blaze - whether Native American or early settler, I'm not sure.

At over 10 feet in diameter and 220 feet tall, this tree might look like a redwood, but it's a Douglas fir.  (I like posing next to big objects so I appear smaller.)

We drove back home using the road on the north side of the river.  I had to stop and snap a picture of us parked on the other side.

And one of the art deco column at the end of the I.L Patterson Bridge.

We decided to stay one more day so Ron could work on the RV's furnace which had been making some noise.  (Remember we're on the coast and it does sometimes get cold at night.)

I'm happy to say he only had one little screw left over when he reinstalled it!

As a treat for the German in him, we went to the Black Forest Restaurant for dinner.  Located in Honey Bear Campground, it has been owned and operated by Gary and Jeannett Saks since 1979. The menu is set each night with two delicious options for the entree, one usually being a German favorite.

Gary is the very personable host and entertainer.  I know many of our WIN friends remember how much fun we had there on our previous visits.

On our way home we stopped at Otter Point State Recreation Site to walk off a bit of that good home cooking.