We continued driving up the Oregon Coast, reaching Florence, about half way up. Along the way, we spent some time beach combing, took in a sand dune overlook, and bought Myrtlewood stuff at gift shops...
03.20.2008 - 03.20.2008 48 °F
Again with the slow internet connection, but that's not why I'm again falling behind on the blog, more just plain laziness (or writing burnout?) Either way, same affect...
Tonight I sorted and repacked all the rocks & stuff I collected while beachcombing. Maybe got a handful of agates, but mostly quartz. That's OK, but not sure what I'll do with it. I think Mom would like to bury me under a pile of rocks. However she got into the spirit a bit and made the big killing of all the beach combing - she found a dime!
Also when we got up this morning at the Harris Beach campground, we got really lucky for a change. For the last several weeks, I've been trying to get a nice picture of a Steller Blue Jay, which are quite common in the Pacific. So far however, my efforts were pretty unsuccessful. So imagine my surprise when just outside the RV door, maybe 4 feet from me and my camera, was this fellow who even stayed relatively still and maybe even posed a little bit! Maybe the birds are finally reading the blog (just kidding of course, but I actually had to zoom out to get all of him...)
It was quite cold and rainy today, even hailed a bit. At least there was no snow on Hwy 101 as the radio said there was further east on I5. Maybe we should have stayed south a couple weeks longer? I did take Mom down to the beach, but it was so wet and windy, she refused to get out of the RV, that is until she found it surrounded by seagulls, then she couldn't resist using up some of our excess bread to warm them up a bit. I braved the elements a bit to enjoy the beach a bit more and took a few more Oregon coast shots. (This was about 10 AM, so you can see how dark the storm makes it look.)
Also, notice the creek running into the Pacific Ocean in this shot, also at Harris Beach State Park.
And of course, the windy weather can create some fantastic surf shots - so bad weather can be good (although Mom may not agree with me).
A little bit farther up Hwy 101 we drove over the Thomas Creek bridge, which is the highest in OR. I decided to try to get a better shot of the bridge, so turned around (driving back over the bridge to the parking lot to the south of it) and tried hiking down part of the coast trail, not too successful as every shot I tried was screened by trees. Mom didn't know why I was gone so long, so started out to look for me. Fortunately, she just walked as far as the second parking lot - she didn't try going down any of the trails. I've decided I need to be more explicit about how long she should wait before starting to worry - e.g. If I'm not back by 1 PM... Maybe there's some trip fatigue setting in, she didn't seem to worry as much when I took off on a hike earlier in the trip (Idaho seems to come to mind, but maybe she did and I've just forgotten.)
As long as I'd hiked down so far to try to see the bridge better, I took advantage of the position to get more shots of the coastline and the beach at the bottom of Thomas Creek.
A little bit further north of Thomas Creek, we passed a small cascading waterfalls at Reinhart Creek. My waterfall shots were too screened by underbrush and trees to bother to upload, but the coastline shot came out pretty nice. Also I'm beginning to see a pattern as we get further into Oregon where there is a lot more underbrush along the coast, more like WA then CA. You can also see the odd weather we had today, mostly overcast and raining, but occasional sun breaks such as here.
I seem to be posting a lot of shots of the coastline here, but of course that's what the big attraction is - the coastline! So one more, the turnout was for "Spruce Island", which was a different larger rock then the one I liked. However it was my camera, so I took a picture of the one I liked (which may or may not be Spruce Island, but probably isn't).
Turns out the SW Oregon coast is good for growing Myrtlewood trees (bushes in other areas?) These are popular for woodworking as it is a very hard wood and can have a beautiful grain. Of course, I had to buy a couple of items at some of the ever present gift shops.
I spent so long at the beaches and the weather was so unpleasant that we skipped the lighthouses and sightseeing in 'quaint coastal towns'. We had to stop for the Oregon Sand Dunes however, even if only briefly. Mom collected some sand for her friend while I took a picture of an old familiar friend. Well not to mislead you, but I mean Western Skunk Cabbage. This grew in abundance across the road from my previous home up in Lynnwood, WA. It is fairly common in wet, marshy areas - now in Oregon we are beginning to see it fairly often.
There was a nice overlook for the Oregon Dunes, but it required climbing a lot of steps, so Mom waited in the RV while I got this shot. It was raining, but also windy - if you look closely you might be able to see the blowing sand? Note that this is only a very small portion of the dunes - we drove through them for miles, both today and again tomorrow. These are the largest area of sand dunes in the U.S. and extend over about 40 to 50 miles long and as much as 2.5 miles inland.
We are camping in Honeyman State Park, in the sand dunes and just south of Florence - about 1/2 up the Oregon Coast (Hwy 101). Our plan is to drive on to my Uncle Bills in Salem, arriving either Friday night or sometime on Saturday. We'll visit their until Monday morning, then drive north again - probably along the coast.
I will someday get this caught up - but almost positive some of it will be after we get home... Lots of great pictures (or at least pictures) to upload yet...
Miles Driven - 154, Cumulative - 19,012
Camped at Honeyman State Park in the Oregon Dunes!