Tuesday Sept. 25
This is the view from the
the computer chair looking out our 5er windows in Winchester Bay.
Right on the jetty and all
for just $12 a day. Can't get much better than this on the coast. Now like
my post from yesterday we do have to provide our own power but we can do
that... and be GREEN doing it, like they say.
We do like to scope out or
next (port of call) as it is, so took off, after reading the morning paper,
to Coos Bay and Charleston. Stopped at the tourist center right across
the bridge and loaded up on info, which we will have to decipher later
The bridge going into Coos
Bay 25 miles south of Winchester bay. . We wanted to check out the county
park in Charleston. Found the county campground OK except a hard narrow
20% drive to get to the sites on top of the hill exposed to the south.
The lower sites were like all of OR many campgrounds DEEP in the trees,
with NO sun.
So much of Coos Bay is dedicated
to forestry, and the sawdust is in huge piles to be exported for making
And Charleston Bay IS a
fishing port of big time, as you can see by the above picture. Must not
be in crabbing season right now or they would not be stacked up on the
dock. Need to read more about it as the old CBS TV tag line
used to say.
Now need to spend time with
the tourist literature and determine our next move. This travel stuff
But now, as the sun is just
starting to recede right out my computer window, let me think about being
back on the job back in Iowa in a cubicle with a computer and phone attached
to my brain, working to get very high speed communication circuits to function.
Also rearrainged ckts. late at night (from home via data links) to get
the job done. Yes there was pressure, doing that. That was in another life,
as people like to say. Moving on to this new, second life. And I am glad
I do have this second life to move into. Enough of that...
I am getting antsy to keep
moving south to see more and more... Will I get out of this vacation mode.
Perhaps next time, when I know where I am, and what is ahead, and
can then say, this is where I want to spend a few weeks, or the summer
right here! Like the by line of our www.hitchitch.com
restless urge to see new territory, and find what is beyond the curve in
the road ahead.
are so may curves in the road ahead on this Oregon coast, I hate to stop
and turn around and go back to the campground as we explore ahead.
up the hill from Winchester Bay marina campground, where we are staying
is the Umpqua River Lighthouse where Bob and Linda from www.because-we-can.net
volunteering. Linda does the visitor center and Bob gives a mean tour of
the lighthouse. We had the chance to visit a bit with Linda, and learn
more at the visitor center, and sign up to take Bob's lighthouse tour.
He has it all researched (he is into the history) and can tell stories
that make the tour very personal for all who are fortunate to attend. He
relates the stories as to how people lived when this lighthouse was very
much in the center of the action.
Bob in the base of the lighthouse
starting the inside part of the tour. He is dedicated to providing the
very best, at explaining the details of this historic preservation site.
How we each should treasure places like this, and do our own part, to stand
up and take notice about the things around us that might need doing, to
preserve a bit of our own history. You wind up being a participant on the
tour, and not just a receiver of information to be filed away in the back
of your mind.
At the top looking
at the (now) electric light powering the light beams through the prisms.
We were allowed to to step up the ladder a few steps and look into the
inside of the prisms.
Read and see more
about it, on the web at Umpqua
We are headed south toward
Port Orford tomorrow... We are at the top of the map just below Reedsport
at Winchester Bay. We had day tripped down to Coos Bay and Charleston
and saw the sights yesterday and didn't find suitable camping, so will
try to head further on down the coast. Looks like great campsites await
us if our search on the net holds true around the Port Orford area. We
will have to get past Bandon, as we will STOP if the great campground site
gods say this is as good as it gets.
See the DiscoverPortOrford.com
web site as to where we see some great campsites (as in boondocking) to
explore. Click on the Map and Campgrounds links. They know how to put together
a user friendly web site for people like us. Like we keep saying, we shall
see what we find, on down the road, and because of their web site, we shall
stop and check them out.
Thursday Sept. 27
landed about noon at Cape Blanco State Park (see above map) and found site
A20 that we could get satellite out from. The only problem we had 20 amp
service but no 30 amp. Told the camp host and he siad he would replace
the breaker. Now all is well when we came back from exploring the
area. The RV electric with water is $16. But the dump station is closed
and so is the one down the coast a the next state park. Humbug Mtn. State
campsites are first come, first served. Which I like very much. Now
we can pay day by day and not have to worry about when or if we have to
vacate the campsite. If as we explore the area and find that perfect site
(in a county park, etc. we are not tied down to here. At South Beach State
Park (up at Newport) they suggested we pay for at least 4 days so
we would not have vacate if someone reserved the spot we were in.
They would, refund if we wanted to leave early. That was OK just a hassle
all around. First come first served is a good way of doing it. Sure I know
others (doing the vacation thing) like to reserve, but fulltimers don't
like to commit to a schedule most of the time.
Terry checking things
out from the Port Orford city viewing area. He is looking over toward the
docks in the next picture.
The view of the port of
Port Orford. They have to take each boat out of the water every day.
That is what the cranes are for, to lift the boats up and out and place
them on the dry jetty.
You can see the fog bank
to the south. This shot is from the Cape Blanco campground. There is a
one lane blacktop narrow drive to the is point with a small parking lot.
Otherwise most of this coast is high up with grand views. The sign sez
"Four wheel drive vehicles recommended." I guess so!
We are now socked
in with fog right on the coast. So I took this shot of the Cape Blanco
lighthouse. This is why they needed these things. Cape Blanco is the
most southern of Oregon's lights, and is the westernmost point in Oregon.
Proposed in 1864, it was the first lighthouse in the state outfitted with
a first-order Fresnel lens in 1870.
See the .pdf file (134K)
on the lighthouse.
The first-order lens was
replaced with a second-order lens in 1936.
We will do much more exploring
on Friday and probably stay for the weekend. Every day we find new things
and sights unlike the day before. The lighthouse tour is only $2 so we
hope it is clear tomorrow for that. Time to unwind a bit. I think I can
be happy here for a few days. If we get to much of the HitchItch thing
we will be done with the OR. coast. Brookings is on about 60 miles south
of here after all.
rained most of the night but Friday the sun came out and it was great day.
We will play it as it goes with the weather, as there is nothing we can
to do about it, and we have a nice warm happy home. Unlike the many tent
campers we are still seeing. Not to mention the hords of bicycle cross
country campers. They have got to be a hardy bunch.
we left for our drive this morning, I got a clear shot of Cape Blanco lighthouse.
We have yet to take the tour as it is only between 10 AM to 3:30 PM. You
are not allowed to walk around on the grounds, just gather at the shack
down the hill and then take the guided tour. It is only $2. plus donations
of course. Suppose it is because of the steep cliffs and no guard rails
anywhere. So the below shot is long range.
in an email sets the record straight: Public Access: Visitor hours
are from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
and a locked gate keeps visitors a half mile from the
outside of those hours to protect Native American burial
Guided tours are offered April through October.
We next took off for a drive
River road past the fish hatchery and on and on till the payment ended
at a small rec. area. There was much fallen rock from the rain and we were
lucky none fell on us, as some parts of the road were covered. The risks
you take to find what is beyond the curve in the road ahead.
The shot above is the river
along Elk River road. Very winding and steep canyon. Just the type of back
roads we like to explore.
We got back to Port Orford
and Terry insisted we head right to the docks for lunch. I hate eating
out but inside we went to "The Dock Tackle Cafe" He had some fancy tomato
fish combo soup called Chippino. (I tasted it and did not like it at all)
He loved it. I had the daily special of fish and chips since they said
it was made with localy caught white fish. It was breaded VERY light in
a special non crusty batter. Not your "Long John Silvers" restaurant
fare. The french fries were nothing like we have had before. Kicked up
a notch like Emeril Lagasse would say on the food network. The coleslaw
had a sweat taste to it. All very good.
We recommend this very down
to earth local cafe, right on the dock, surrounded by boats out of the
water. They have a small museum and tackle shop to boot.
of Fort Orford the boats have to be lifted out of the water each day.
We caught one in the process.
Look at the guy on the rear
UNDER the boat. Yes he was under the boat. Would you trust the ropes to
OSHA might want to check
out this dock. He later reached up and helped guide the boat by grabbing
Next off to the Port
Orford Heads State Park point to take in the view.
The Port Orford Lifeboat
Station was constructed in 1934 by the Coast Guard to provide lifesaving
service to the southern portion of the Oregon Coast until 1970.
That is me (Ron) in the
pic. How dare Terry shoot me from behind. Might be my best view. I was
wondering how such a big boat could by controlled by such a small propeller.
Terry is off beach walking
for agates, and I'm doing the blog, again. He gets to do the blog for the
next several days, I think. He did cut a bunch of firewood before he left.
And he will fix a light supper, since we ate heavy for lunch and then do
dishes... OK, I will shut up now, as he does most all the work around here.
I am waited on hand and foot. Did I say that... He gets the
computer after supper for all the time he wants.
OH I almost forgot we
saw several whales today, right off the coast, close in. WOW. Didn't
think this was the right time of year. But we saw them anyway. Locals say,
some like to just hang out here around Cape Blanco and the jetty at the
downtown port. We saw them in both places.
Sunday Sept. 30
by your roving reporter
update below by Ron)
Its been raining all day.
The rain started some time during the night, and has continued off and
on all morning. I got up early and drove into Port Orford this morning
to get a Sunday paper and was told that the papers do not arrive until
some time after 9:30 AM. Did not feel like waiting around for and
hour and a half so drove back out to the park. we may go into town
after lunch for a paper or may not, depends on our very busy schedule.
Made huckleberry muffins
this morning using berries we found growing wild last night. Got
a couple cups of berries and tried to make muffins this morning.
I thought They were good and had three. (Ron says I should be ashamed of
myself for eating three) Ron had one and after consuming that.
I had to make him and egg and english muffin sandwich. (Ron also
told me to say that the muffins would be much better made with real sugar.)
Here are a few of the berries
as I was picking them.
Yesterday we backtracked
up the coast to Bandon and Coquille, OR. Bandon is on the beach
and with a couple of golf courses makes the most of its location.
Much of the old town has converted to tourist shops and restaurants and
the support businesses have built new buildings along hwy 101.
The picture above is of face
rock a locally famous land mark. When we were at the view point it
was hard to decided which of the rocks they refereed to, but this looked
the most life like.
Just down the loop road from
face rock is the entrance to the bay at Bandon and the Coquille River
Light House. Setting on the north side of the river and away from
town, this is as close as we got to it .
Here are all the touristy
things you will ever need. We had lunch (chowder) in the little oudoor
restaurant next to this gift shop/fishing tackle/bait shop. Hot and
tasty as it was cool sitting outside. Still haven't had crab at any of
our lunch stops and so do not quite understand the fixation the locals
and some of the tourists have with crab fishing. You see crab pots
and crab nets, and crab bait in every town. My own experience with
crab is the frozen crab legs one gets in the midwest. I know that
the picked crab meat is expensive, saw it priced at about $21 /lb
the other day in Port Orford.
After touring Bandon we
drove up the Coquille river to the the town of Coquille. The river
flows through a lush river valley with a lot of dairy farms along the way.
There were also a lot of boats and fishermen out on the river hoping to
catch one of the fall run salmon. Saw lots of fishing, but no catching.
We returned to base at Cape
Blanco to enjoy a Prairie Home Companion on our XM Satellite receiver and
a nice campfire to huddle around for warmth.
Towards dusk we ventured
out to see if there would be any kind of a sunset display at the cape,
but everything was cloudy, with more clouds coming in from the west.
Looks like we have lots of southern exposure but NOT, there are huge trees
all around. We found a spot to peak out to get online.
Here is the best picture
I have from Saturday of the cape. Hoping to hit the road tomorrow down
to Gold Beach, OR. our trip down the OR coast is coming to a close,
and will soon hit the CA coast. Do not know what to expect, but will
probably start to head inland shortly after that.
PM by Ron, also added some pics)
Sunday we woke up to rain
and more rain with wind, so are staying right here till Monday when we
will head out. Our new plans are to head slowly south to Harris Beach State
park where since the weather has gone to wet and wetter, we will have electric
and the camp price drops on Oct. 1 to $17. We from there, can explore back
up to Gold Beach and the Rouge River. There is no state parks for camping
at Gold Beach. I know there are gobs of private parks in the area but we
are just into that idea. State Parks are about as upscale as we want to
go. And if we have full sun county and FS parks are the ticket. All depends
on the weather. Let me be up front we are not upset with the weather conditions
as we have had great days with clear and warm being the norm. It is the
time of year for it to start to get nasty up here and we will deal with
it. We will have all winter to wonder what rain looks like in Quartzsite,
Just a shot I like.