Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday - north to Newport

Peach cobbler bubbling in the oven, fresh Chinook Salmon on the grill, the roar of the wild Pacific ocean in the background.......

I lie.

 At least about the first two fantasies.  I AM listening to the roar of the waves crashing, but the peaches are still on the counter, not yet transformed into a cobbler and we just finished eating a pizza from 1285 Restobar.  Other things intervened.

This morning I had the best plans to experience all three, but then we decided to take the dogs and drive north on 101 to Newport.  I'll always take a drive, especially along the ocean, so after lunch we set off.  The day was clear, cool, and - you guessed it, windy. It was such a beautiful drive up into the mountains with the ever present ocean crashing on the rocks off to our left.

many vista points along the way with stunning views every way you turn

This is called Seal Rock and we could hear them....

Dave looks for them

Lewis and Sasha hear them too!
Finally we saw a few seals swimming at the base of the rocks, but I couldn't get a good picture of them.  I had to be satisfied just watching them swim, dive and surface in the pounding surf.

Don't hate me, I can't remember the name of this lighthouse, there are so many!
We arrived in Newport, crossing the huge bridge over Yaquina bay.  We drove around the area a bit, and found ourselves in the port area, full of commercial fishing boats and processing plants.  One side of the street was replete with the usual tourist traps and tee shirt stores, the other was a busy working pier area with fork lifts whizzing around and men in tall rubber boots hosing out loading docks.  The smell of fish was strong.   Interesting contrast.   Just across the bay, behind the fishing fleet, was NOAA's pacific northwest headquarters, and a large Coast Guard station.  Lots of moving parts for us to watch.

two seals on the rock jetty, enjoying the sun and a busy cormorant fishing in the background
Finally, all that barking lead us to a sighting!

Heceta Head
I love the way the waves wash in at low tide here, they look like the lace border on  beautiful blue dress

low tide view of the lower sand dunes on our way back down toward Florence

close up of the above dunes.
So interesting to think that tomorrow the patterns in the sand  may be totally different
So, after a very busy driving day, we (I) just weren't up to peeling peaches and making a cobbler, or buying some lovely salmon and getting the grill out to prepare it.   Perhaps tomorrow.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday in Florence

a favorite pictures of my boy

The weather here in Florence has evidently been stellar.  None of the usual fog and drizzle, just cool, sunny days, the temperature doesn't vary much from day to night.  Windy, though....very windy.
our sunny morning coffee spot
We have positioned our chairs so that we catch the morning sun as it moves through our campsite.  The four of us enjoy our time there.  Dave and I drink our coffee/tea and the dogs have a chance to sniff around the entire site at their leisure.   When the cups are empty, we play "fish" with Lewis until our arms get tired and Sasha takes the opportunity to poke around where she shouldn't be - while we're not looking....Then she hussles back to us, crashing into the table and tossing everything on it into the sand.  Same thing, every morning.
we have to dress in layers to keep warm, but its worth it to have another coffee outside

Dave managed to catch both the chickadee and the nuthatch at the feeder.
At this rate, we'll be out of seed soon!
After lunch we take the dogs and explore a bit before ending up on Hecata Beach for a walk and ball session.  I didn't take the camera on the beach today because the salt spray really messes up the lens and I don't know how to properly clean it.  It was another windy but beautiful day and Lewis chased his ball in and out of the tide pools and through the drifting dry sand above the tide line.  He gets absolutely covered in sand and couldn't be happier.  Even Sasha got energetic today, galumphing about with a grin on her face.  She loves to carefully sniff every square inch of the huge driftwood logs resting in the sand.

 We wore hooded sweatshirts and our winter jackets and were nice and toasty in the strong wind.  When we tired of walking and throwing the ball, we sat on a log and just enjoyed the view.  Sasha settled down beside us and Lewis played ball with himself.  He's so funny to watch, kicking the ball (and sand) out behind himself, then racing after it, then repeating the whole thing.  On and on he goes, until we decide its time to leave.

We made plans to meet Jesse and Erin at the Waterfront Depot at 7:30 tonight and we had things to do before then.

Florence from the river

the undulating dunes fascinate me

high tide along the Suislaw River as viewed from our campground

the same view at lower tide as the sun begins to set

Maybe tomorrow (or the next day) we'll get down to that river beach to see what it looks like at low tide.  Always an interesting time to walk.

I had a quick conversation with niece Lisa when we got home.  She's fine, recovering from a nasty cold and almost finished getting the new house whipped into shape.   Then Dave spoke at length with JAD.  She's on her first RV trip in the east and enjoying the experience (and the lobster's!).

It was wonderful to see Jesse and Erin at dinner tonight.   They were able to take time out of their hectic school schedules to drive to Florence (about an hour away) for another good dinner and interesting conversation.  We'll miss them - but Christmas isn't that far away, is it?   Thanks guys....

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday at the coast

This park is so beautiful.  By 10 a.m. we'd seen two new birds to add to our life list.  We hung up the bird feeder outside the door and in a few hours, a chestnut backed chickadee and a red breasted nuthatch had zeroed in on it.  I'm sure they called all their families, because the feeder was like grand central station all morning.  The vibrant colors of these birds was stunning.

red breasted nuthatch

chestnut backed chickadee

the Steller's Jay's tried and tried to reach the feeder.  they finally gave up and  settled for the ground pickings.
More new things....after our morning coffee/tea outside and the bird invasion, we came inside to clean up a bit before setting out to find a post office (to facilitate a new mail delivery) a gas station, the huge sand dunes, the harbor, and the south jetty.  As we were getting ready, a really loud tsunami warning siren started blaring right outside Beluga.  Sasha nearly jumped out of her skin, as a matter of fact, we all did.   Then we remembered that they always test the warning siren on the last Friday of the month and, you guessed it, today is the last Friday of the month!    So we'd know the test was over, the siren started playing the Westminster Chimes....the tune and quality of sound  made us think of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"!

We found the gas station (Safeway - and with our reward's points we only paid $3.50 a gallon), found the road to the Sand Dunes, the commercial fishing harbor and almost drove all the way out on the South Jetty.

sand dunes meet the river

the wicked wind shapes everything here
These pictures of the dunes show them in their pristine shape.  Further down the road the dunes were higher, but crisscrossed with OHV tracks.  Riding down them with these supercharged vehicles looks like it might be really fun, but I liked seeing the dunes in their natural state better.  They are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and tower over 100 feet above the Pacific on one side and the Suislaw River on the other.  They are very impressive.   Pictures don't do them justice I'm afraid.

We found the south jetty road and started driving to the end, where the river meets the ocean.  It was very very cold and windy, and despite the sun we were chilled to the bone.  Next time we'll need to drag out our winter jackets for this walk.  Huge waves rolled up the river and crashed into the jetty's stone walls.  Signs everywhere warned us of "deadly waves".  We didn't need those signs to keep us away from the edge.  The road on top of the jetty was jagged, we drove for a while, but decided not to push our luck by driving all the way to the end and the crashing waves of the Pacific.

Dave was very cold walking along the Jetty today (so was I!)

fog (the marine layer) would drift in and out quickly, making clear blue sky visible one moment, grey fog the next
this is the end of the jetty, at the ocean

 a calm place to snooze

"You want me to drive on this road?"  
we decided that the jetty road was more than our "trail rated" jeep was up for, so we stopped right here and walked the rest of the way.

this little ground squirrel watched, covertly,  as we fought the strong winds

bridge on US 101 over the Suislaw River

view under the bridge

Port of Suislaw in the old town area of Florence.
We walked along the docks and looked at the fishing boats in the Port.  Its crab season and the boats were busy.  A very small farmer's market was set up there and we found a few things to enhance our dinner of left over's tonight.  The vendor was very excited to give us samples of all his wares, and that turned out to be a great sales tactic!  In addition to the veggies below, we bought some beautiful, juicy peaches, probably the last of the season.  Peach Cobbler coming up!

tiny multi colored pear tomatoes and 2 Armenian Cucumbers
Finally, we found what I'd been looking for all afternoon.  A wide, flat beach (low tide) with easy access not too far from our campground.  All the others we checked out today necessitated a long, steep climb over dunes to get to the water.  This was more like it!  It was great to get my feet back in the sand, even if it was only 52 degrees with a 25 mph wind!!!!

Dave had to brace himself to keep from blowing away.  

Tomorrow's another day, we'll be back with the dogs for a good long walk, this time with the proper clothing!  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday - at the coast

We packed up the rugs, our little marigold, the river rocks that have held down our outdoor rugs, the ex pen, took down the birdfeeder (much to the noisy displeasure of lots of chickadees), washed the windshield, played ball, emptied the garbage and recycling, ate lunch and were on the road by noon.   I followed Dave and Beluga to a nearby campground to get a top off for our propane tank.  We expect to have to use the heat more in the next month or two, so its better to have a full tank and no surprises.  Dave isn't happy with the air pressure in one of the inside duel tires, so we'll have to keep an eye on it. 

cleaning Beluga's windshield...check out the tongue

good bye Eugene
After the propane fill, we got on route 126 and headed west, to Florence. It is another beautiful ride, along the shallow shore of Fern Ridge Lake.  The water almost laps at the road and many red-eyed Western Grebe's swim and dive within feet of us.   The road takes us up into the fern and moss covered trees of the coastal range and then down to cross the Suislaw River.
we drove into this tunnel at a 7 % grade.....

crossing the Suislaw

this is one of my favorite sections of 126 west.  We drive along the river all the way to the ocean.

afternoon sun shining on the Suislaw as it reaches the Pacific.  this view is from our new campground
We're at another Lane County Park, Harbor Vista.  What a beautiful place.  Every site is nestled down in high hedges of rhrododendron and berry laden bushes.  Tall pines shelter us from the harsh ocean breezes and we feel so happy to be here.  We can't see our neighbors and all we can hear is the ocean breaking on the beach not to far away.   Its quite cool, but sunny as you can see by the picture above.  I can't wait to get out and explore the area tomorrow.  For now, we'll make dinner and get to bed early.  Lots to do and see for this next week.

Sasha likes the "early to bed" thing...she's out like a light!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday - last day in Eugene

Today was our last day in Eugene.  We spent most of it running last minute errands before we pull out in the morning.  A Chico's return, some grocery supplies,searching for a heavy duty needle and strong thread to try and re-bind part of our throw rug, buying a California Gazateer, bla, bla, bla.   Dave started stowing our outside stuff (grill, etc.) and I took Lewis for a quick ball session before we met Jesse and Erin for one last dinner together.  As usual, the meal was great and as a special treat we stopped at Sweet Life for a little post dinner sweet.

We'll miss seeing them every day.  We've been able to spend time with Jesse since early August, Erin since the beginning of September and the time really just flew by.  I can hardly believe its the end of September already.  It was hard to drive away from the house tonight, but I know we'll have more time together at Christmas.  Life is busy for them now, and we're on to new adventures.

We may be changing our plans a bit and heading towards interior California instead of following the coast.  More on that later when things start to gel.  For now, we're heading to Florence, Oregon.  It is due west of Eugene on route 126.  I've booked 7 days there and we're looking forward to investigating the wide beaches, tide pools, lighthouses and seafood restaurants.

trees around us are beginning to change color

 a few of the wild children I wrote about previously, sharing a quiet minute in the sun

trees in the forest behind our site have strange shapes

moss covers everything, even picnic tables in the forest

its beautiful up close

at the end of the forest path, home waits
We'll all miss the Eugene area.    The beautiful, sunny skies, the deep forests, mountains and fast flowing rivers.  The huge dog park here at our campground, often full of exuberant dogs greeting friends and racing around like their lives depended on it.  The range of wonderful restaurants, Market of Choice, Trader Joe's,  all the RV services, the quirky street system (well, we won't miss them TOO much, but they did make life interesting), the friendly people always willing to help, ready smiles, the enthusiastic Ducks fans displaying their passions every Saturday, the fantastic Saturday Farmer's Market, the little coffee stands everywhere, men's (young mens) kilts, dreadlocks, bicycles and all things "organic", "free range", "locally grown", and "green".   Sweet doggy girls, Ruby and Kikan and the very best sweet girl, Erin.   So much more....

But, we'll miss Jesse most of all.  Its been such a wonderful time, thanks.