14 October ‘09 I’ll bet you there are more state parks on the Oregon coast than any other coast in the states… Every few miles we come across one or two that line the coastline. Tonight we’ve chosen Cape Blanco State Park, which is just off Hwy 101 south of Sixes, or about 10 miles north of Port Orford, Oregon.
Boy let me tell you, the winds can blow along this coastline… As we “tried” to sleep last night, we were told the winds blew between 45mph with gusts to 65mph. You mix that with a little rain and you’ve got a racket. Fortunately for us, the winds did die down by 10am and we were able to get back on the road. With the winds hitting us directly in the nose and gusting to 35mph, it made for quite a drive for the day. We weren’t in any hurry, so when something caught our eyes, we stopped. The winds did kick-up one heck of a surf, and with that, it made for many stops just to watch the breakers hitting the rocks. I don’t know just how high the waves got today, but they were some of the highest we’ve ever seen, long, high, and powerful. Of course some of our favorite towns still warrant a stop or slow drive through…Newport, Waldport, Dunes City, and our all time Oregon coast town of Bandon. Bandon has seen its potential and the merchants, politicians, and townspeople have moved forward and did a great job marketing itself to the tourists with quaint buildings and a harbor to kill for. Well we’ve filled our gas tank twice now since leaving Seattle and we’re getting just over 9.5 gallons a mile. We also filled the propane tank this afternoon…$1.99 a gallon (5 gallons to fill). That was a pretty good buy. As we were traveling just outside of Dunes City, we came across a truck weighing station and I thought we should find out just how much weight we were taking down the road…thank God we’re within limits.
_13 October ‘09
Well this is the first of many nights that are going to be soooo different from the last couple of years. It’s now 7:15pm, we kind of had dinner (I found a left-over pork chop in the refrigerator and a bread stick), and we’re sitting here at the dining table reading. I promised the family I’d keep the site up so I put my magazine down and plugged the computer in and got right to it. This morning we were still at Ricardo and Susie’s place. After getting back with the coach and checking the air pressure in the tires, I found that I couldn’t get a gauge onto the outside duals…what a pain. Now it’s back to the tire shop this morning to get this fixed…can’t a person get a job done right the first time??? OK, stems all fixed, wind blowing like hell, and it’s COLD, let’s get on the road. We’re going to miss the hospitality of Ricardo and Susie a lot, but we’ve got to get going, snow you know… We headed south on I-5 until we got to Wilsonville and we stopped at Camping World to see if we could dump our black and gray tanks. It seems that we’ve got to move on to a state campground some 12 miles further south and west to find a dump station. We had no other choices as we were FULL !!! As we pulled into Champoeg State Heritage Park we were very impressed. It sits on the shores of the Willamette River in a beautiful wooded site on rolling farm hills, has a wonderful hospitality center offering lots of goodies and help, and sits about 9 miles from Newberg, Oregon. Leaving the park we decided to head west instead of back to I-5 and made our way to the coast. Just a little further west, and just as your coming into McMinnville, we came across a real surprise…The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. This is one of the best of Aviation museums we have yet visited, and was the brain child of a young local pilot, Captain Michael King Smith. As a young pilot in the Oregon Air National Guard in the early 1990’s and flying an F-15 he started to see his dream come true. Then unfortunately he was called to a different calling, but his mortal dream continues. This is also the home of the famous “Spruce Goose”
_that was built and flown by Howard Hughs!!! Let me tell you, this is a big ship… Another dream that came true and still gives people amazement. If you’re ever in the area of Portland of the surrounding areas, you’ve got to make this a stop. Just after 4pm we pulled into Lincoln City and found a state campground alongside Devils Lake.
_We’ve been to Lincoln City many times and also to Devils Lake a few times, but never to the state park. It’s a nice campground right on the shores of the lake (although you have to hike to see the lake) with some large campsites to park at. We’re only going to be here for one night but as it was getting a little late in the afternoon we decided to stay here for our “official” first campground with our new “Minnie”. For $19 we’ve got full hook-ups in a nice campground…what else would we want??? When we awoke this morning we woke to rain hitting the roof and the wind kicking up, well just after pulling into here we were welcomed with some more rain. This is the first rain that we’ve had for quite some time so I’m not complaining, just letting you know.
_9 November ‘08 Sunday
After yesterday it would seem to be almost impossible to expect a second day of as much entertainment but I was wrong. One of our neighbors here at “Camp Monaco” had mentioned one of their favorite locations to visit around here… Winchester Bay. Winchester Bay is located about 4 miles south of Reedsport and is home to the Umpqua Coast Guard Station and Lighthouse. The drive took us from Harrisburg (were the service / campground is located) to Florence, then down the coast to Reedsport and Winchester. We arrived in Florence just before noon and with Louise and me leaving the coach without having breakfast, we stopped at Starbucks for a snack. The morning drive took us on “one twisting and winding” road…oh yes, also very narrow and with not a chance of a shoulder to fall off on if need be. With this being late Fall and raining off and on, we were pleased to see such a beautiful area that was preparing for Winter. The falling leaves of golden colors, the deep green grasses, and the clear and flowing rivers heading out to the ocean really made this drive enjoyable. Once at Winchester Bay we found a couple of great looking campgrounds that sat right out on the peninsula. One in particular was very nice, and for $24 you could find yourself camping on a concrete pad that is surrounded by beautifully cut grass and sitting about 20 feet higher than the passing surf from the Pacific Ocean. Just around the corner and up a hill, we found the Umpqua Lighthouse and viewpoint.
_While we were sitting in the car, binoculars in hand, we heard a voice telling of life around this lighthouse in the late 1800’s. Curious, we stuck our heads out the door and were asked if we wanted to join them for a tour of the lighthouse and grounds. Heck yes…this is just what we were looking for. In 1881, the lighthouse was constructed with over 340,000 bricks that were made in the San Francisco area. The glass of the reflector was not only highly polished but it was also very fragile.
_You could chip it so easily that the caretaker had to wear special clothing, something like a large “night-shirt”. The possibility of a belt buckle could chip a chunk of glass very easily. Back then, the keeper of the lighthouse had to sit in an area just below the beacon, looking out over the ocean with his spotting glass. As each ship would pass he would read the flags that were flying from the masts. The flags would tell him the name of the ship, cargo, and the destination of the shipment. He had to immediately post this information in a journal. At the time when he and his family were appointed to this job, it was a not one that offered a full social life…unfortunately it was just the opposite. After leaving the lighthouse we drove by a little “floating” seafood restaurant that looked too good to pass.
_Not only was it too good to pass, it was “totally good” food as well…we highly recommend stopping by if you’re in the area. Our first plan was to get back to the coach before dark but that didn’t work. Now we had to drive back on that narrow, winding and twisting road in the dark while it is still raining hard and unfortunately just as hard to see.
_What a week this has been… First we were able to totally enjoy a couple of days with Ricardo and Suzie in Gresham. As I have mentioned before, they live and have their studio in one of the most beautiful homes in the Portland area and besides that, they have room in the back for us and about 4 others to park their motor homes. For those who know them, I’ve got to tell you they are both doing and looking GREAT and are looking forward to getting back to Cabo for the winter. Monday morning we drove down to AM Solar in Springfield to have the solar system installed. Dale and Deb (the owners of AM Solar) immediately welcomed us in and made us feel as comfortable as family. We were directed to a spot behind their building to hook up to water and electrical and then invited into their office. No sooner than the introductions were over and they were telling us of all the interesting locations in and around Eugene/Springfield. We would be staying overnight and then first thing in the morning we would be moving inside for our installation.
_They suggested that we stay one more night just to make sure that we thoroughly understood our new system and then we could continue on heading south. Just after we moved into the stall, Dale and his crew made a test on our electrical system to make sure that all was in good working order. Unfortunately they found that we had a large unexplained amperage draw. Dale told us that with the installation of the solar panels would only be making as much electricity for our batteries as we are now losing. I’ve been thinking about going back to Colbert to have a service completed so this will give us another excuse to go see the plant were Holiday Ramblers are made. We did have a little bit of luck, they were able to take us right in. We had them do a complete lube, oil and filter change, and then check to see if they could help us with a water leak around the bedroom slide and check out the electrical “problem”. We’ve now been here for 2 working and 2 non-working (Saturday and Sunday) days. Fortunately they have a nice camping area with water and electrical hook-ups and free laundry facilities (we took advantage of those right away). Louise and I rise early and move across the parking lot by 7:30am as they are on their way to take the coach into the shop. Saturday morning we decided to take a day trip. After seeing a picture hanging in a bakery we decided to find Silver Falls State Park. The picture was of this beautiful waterfall,
_and with us not having any schedule, we decided that this would be a perfect destination. Silver Falls State Park is one of those local secrets that you can fall into once in awhile. There are some great walking trails that take you to 10 different waterfalls that have drops from 30+ to over 170 feet.
_We could even walk around the backside of one of the largest falls…the sound of all that water crashing on the rocks below was deafening. It was a beautiful day for such a great place to see nature at its best.
_On the way back to the coach we stopped to see the wood bridges of Scio. In this little community they have 5 wood bridges that are still being used and one that was moved to the city park. Someone told us that this little area is known as the “Wooden Bridge Capital Of The World”….(true???).
_26 October ‘07 Friday
Hwy 101 has always inspired something special in my mind, and our venture down this 2 lane road hasn’t disappointed me yet. If not passing through the many little towns and villages of the coast, you’re enjoying the passing hills, rivers, and more incredible lakes than I had remembered from past trips here. All of this, and with the weather pattern we have finally found, is making it very memorable. We made it as far as Gold Beach today.
_A half dozen stops along the way to look out over the Pacific and a couple of the larger lakes on the other side of the road, and having lunch on the bank of one of the Pacific lookouts, our trip took us just over 4 hours…slow was the word for the day… We even stopped by a couple of old light houses that still shine bright over the seas. When we pulled into our campground here at Gold Beach, it was amazing how warm it was. I’ve been in shorts and golf shirts for the last 5 days and today I finally felt like I was dressed for the weather. It had to be in the low 70’s at least. At 4 we headed down to walk on the beach. It couldn’t have been better. Louise with her eyes scouring the sand for that “special” rock and me just tagging along as company and not having a worry in the world. Now this is what “full timing” is all about… This campground is owned and managed by a German couple. It was almost evident the moment you drive into the park by the manicured look of all the sites and the little more that you pay for the privilege of being here. They also have a very nice German restaurant here on the grounds. The menu was made up of only 2 options…Roasted chicken or Sauerbraten. Unfortunately, we had already made plans for our dinner tonight (staying home and barbecuing our chicken). Oh yes, they also had a German band playing through dinner…quite the place. Having a German restaurant/beer hall here is making me crazy…I still haven’t been able to have a glass of beer, wine, or any other indulgence like that since contacting that damn virus…Hep B. This is got to come to a stop !!! A good German beer wouldn’t hurt anyone.
24 October ‘07
An overcast morning deep in the woods is soooo dark that you don’t believe your clock when it tells you it’s time to get up. Besides being dark, it was so silent that I began to think we were the only camper here. All that said, I did force myself up, got coffee on, took a shower, and ventured out for a little conversation with another camper before Louise pulled herself up on one elbow. I’m proud of myself discipline… After excusing myself from my neighbor I ventured back into the coach and started our breakfast (now don’t get this all wrong, I don’t always make breakfast for us). I purchased some breakfast sausage last week and I thought it was time for it to hit the frying pan, and if it were to hit that pan, I was going to have to put it there. Well if you start something like that you had better finish it with frying up some eggs and putting some toast in for both of us as well Man, a pot of coffee, a sausage patty, toast, and 2 eggs sunnyside up… With breakfast dishes we were off to see some of the local sites. Yesterday we hiked to the top of the sand dunes, and around a part of the lake, but today it was off to see the “Old Town” of Florence. Florence is like a lot of the seaside towns of Oregon and Washington, lots of gift shoppes, restaurants, and bars all trying to entice you into their establishment. We did enjoy our Old Town walk and we did enjoy a very good lunch there as well. After a visit to their visitor center we found we should head north up the coast and explore some additional secrets of the Oregon coast. Unfortunately today’s weather wasn’t like yesterdays. Today we had a light rain and some light fog over the ocean.
We tried to make the most of it and I think we did. We ventured north as far as Waldport and stopped at least a dozen times up and back to see some different views of the ocean, old bridges, rock formations, and the natural beauty of Oregon. Tomorrow we will head further south on Hwy 101.
23 October ‘07
The Monaco mfg area was even more than I had expected… Fact is, I could only cruise through one of their parking areas and happily gaze through the fence. On the other side of the fence were parked the most beautiful coaches you could ever imagine. On one side of the street were the Marathon group, and one the other…Monaco. Marathon’s price out well over $600,000 to over $1 M, and the Monaco’s from $4 to 600,000…anyone want to give me one??? Well it was nice to look anyway, so we did for a few minutes…nose pressed tight on the wire fencing and drooling hard enough to start a flower garden below us. I had given thought to finding a campground there but changed plans as my mind started thinking of a way for us to get into one of these fine coaches (what a laugh that is…). Instead we changed course and headed west on Hwy 126 and Florence. It was a nice drive along a 2 lane road that kept us entertained with small villages along the Suluslaw River, a couple of small lakes, and hills on both sides that were recently painted with Fall colors. All this for 54 miles and then…Hwy 101, the Pacific Ocean, and Florence. It was getting late in the day so our first thought was to find a campground for the night. Digging through our many campground membership books we found one that sounded great for the night. On our way there we came upon a state campground right on the edge of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Besides being about 3 miles closer to Florence, the call of the sand dunes called. Pulling off of 101 and down a tree lined road we came upon a beautiful lake, and surrounding it on 3 sides were the glistening and softly rounded sand dunes. A little deeper into the tall fir and pine trees we found a site that had all the hookups. Now the big problem was “how do we get ourselves into it”? We’re only 4 feet longer than we were but those 4 feet are sometimes like a mile and this was one of those times. Well now that we’re in, they tell us that “what goes in can go out as well”…OK, we’ll see.
22 October ‘07
Well I must tell you, we have finally found the sun. We awoke this morning to 67 degrees and a bright light in the sky…it was wonderful. With the sun shining it gave me a chance to pull some things out of the basement to let them dry out (patio carpet and mats) and also rearrange some other things down there. We also went down to an RV remodel’er store to get a quote on new carpeting and recliner. They gave us a good price on installing the carpeting but we would have to wait 10-12 days to get the carpet and another 5 days to get it installed. With all the “waiting” we’ve done in the last 2 plus months, we passed… This will be a job we can do when we get further into the trip. Today we are heading to Coburn Oregon and then we’ll continue out to the coast. We have been watching the reports on the “fire storm” in California and pray that they get it under control soon. The damage must be devastating and heart breaking for those in the middle of it. At this time we are watching and waiting, but will most likely change course prior to LA.
6 August ‘07
On Friday morning we drove across the Astoria Bridge, turned east and headed onto Portland (Gresham) along Oregon Highway 30. This route took us along the Columbia River to Portland. Once there we followed our GPS system to the doorsteps of Suzie and Ricardo (Dick) Schacht. We met Ricardo and Suzie about 5 years ago while we were in Cabo San Lucas. Then this last December as Louise and I were walking through the RV Park in Cabo, we came across this couple that was just arriving. We stopped to talk with them for a minute and in that period of time we all knew that we had met somewhere before but couldn’t figure out where or when. The next day we all found out at different times and places were we had met and the friendship has grown since. Anyway, as we were leaving the Baja, they asked us to their home in Gresham (Suburb of Portland) if we were to get anywhere close by. Well today we did. They live and work out of this most beautiful turn of the century home. You know, the two story home, wrap-around front porch, acreage, a beautiful stream running through the treed side yard, and all the “photo sets” that any studio photographer would die for. This place is beautiful !!!
Click herePulling the coach and toad down the drive and around the back was a little tight. The drive was built for cars, not motor homes. Once we made it back there, we found a 4 or 5 car garage and were told to back up to the doors of the first two. With Ricardo’s help and a couple more minutes to set up, we were out and giving hugs all around…it was great to be here and great to see them again. Saturday morning all four of us jumped into Ricardo’s Black Suburban and headed to the Saturday Market in Portland. This is the largest market in Oregon. I’m not sure just how much we saw, but I do know that there was a whole lot more to see…it would take a week to see it all. When visiting the larger towns there is a good chance that we can find Costco and Trader Joe’s. With a little bribe to the driver, we were able to find both of them and then fill our refrig and pantry with all the goodies we found. Then it was back to their home and get ready for dinner and a lesson on how to play their new Wii. Sunday morning we went to the Central Café for brunch. It’s been a long time since Louise and I have had such a good brunch, but maybe the 2 Bloody-Mary’s that I had, had something to do with it… to edit.
Monday morning we drove down to Salem to see my Aunt Neola. She had been living in Salem as long as I can remember. At 92 and still living on her own, I can see why she loves this area so much. She is using their senior transportation system to the hilt. A phone call brings a small bus right to her door so that she can go to the grocery store, doctor’s office, or just about anywhere she wants for a couple dollars. It has been a few years since I’ve seen Neola and she hasn’t changed a bit…still looking great !!!
21 May ‘07
Again we were back on Hwy CA139 and heading into Oregon. As we passed though Klamath Falls we stopped at Safeway to refuel our refrigerator and pantry. After having lunch at Arby’s we headed for our next campground at the base of Crater Lake. We are staying at a state campground again tonight that is one of the best we have seen so far. After pulling into our site and getting ready to drop the “jacks” and put our slides out, we found out that we had the same problem we had in Carson City…our hydraulic system is on the fritz once again. We are not “Happy Campers”… What the HELLO is going on here ??? I have no idea as to the problem is and I’m beginning to think that those that are supposed to are reading the same book. Not wanting to ruin the rest of the day, we drove the “toad” up to see Crater Lake before it got too late. This campground is about 30 minutes away from the summit, so fortunately we had plenty of time to enjoy the natural beauty of this unbelievable lake. I’m sure you’ve heard the story of Crater Lake, but just in case… 7,700 years ago Mount Mazama erupted and with such force, the top of the mountain collapsed into itself. Over the next thousands of years and without rivers or streams available, it filled with rainfall and melting snow to form one of the cleanest and purest of lakes in the world. It is also the deepest lake in the US and 5th deepest in the world. The widest point from rim to rim is just over 5 miles and has one large and 3 smaller islands that sit in the pure dark blue waters that make up Crater Lake. One of these “islands” (Wizard Island) is a cone that was developed after the original eruption. Another incredible day traveling the roads of our beautiful country