"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, April 23, 2012

More of Oregon

We've been in Oregon now for about two weeks. We're gradually working our way north, and zig-sagging across the western part of the state between the mountains and the ocean, with forests and farm country in between. This week we also got solar panels installed on the RV and will have our one year RV check this week.  Yes, we are coming up on our one year anniversary soon. Hard to believe.

Our first week we stayed in the Valley of the Rogue State Park. From there we went back to the California coast to see the redwoods, and we also headed up to the mountains to see Crater Lake.  The snow was about 10 feet deep, so all we could do was drive up to the visitor's center and look at the lake. The access roads that go around the lake are closed about 9 months a year, depending on weather conditions.

 We were very fortunate to have a clear day, as often the lake is hidden by clouds.

This week we are staying in "Premier" Resorts RV Park in Coburg, near Eugene.  It's a nice place, with plenty of grassy space between level concrete pad sites. They have a hot tub too. It's been pretty rainy and I thought a hot tub would feel good, but we haven't tried it yet.

It turned out that the solar installation was going to take two days, and we were not able to stay overnight in our RV while it was at AM Solar. So we headed over to the coast, to Florence for an overnight.  We took Rt. 36, a winding back road, through logging country - a major crop here in Oregon. And it has to be seen as a crop. Once the forest is logged, it is truly not a forest any more, but a farm. So now much of the land in Oregon seems to have become tree farms. Thank goodness for State and National Parks that preserve the natural state of the forests.  We passed more conventional farms as well.

In Mapleton, 36 joins 126 and the Suislaw River. We had lunch at a funky little throw-back cafe run by a local commune.  

We passed these rocks, a pretty unusual sight where no other graffiti exists. 

Amazingly, we got a pretty clear day to visit the beach where the Suislaw meets the Pacific.

Got to do a little bird watching at Oregon Dunes Recreational Area,

and some surf(er) watching at the mouth of the Suislaw River. Yep, they are surfing in the river.

On the beaches around Florence there seems to be an enormous amount of drift timber. I'm talking about huge logs. This may be quite normal for the northwest pacific coast, but it's new to me. All along the beach these wiki-ups have been built. I didn't see anyone doing the building, so that made me curious. No one living in them either. They remind me of the balanced rock piles you find all over the country, but never see the builders. 

The ravens were the only residents I saw.

Details of the architecture in one of the more substantial structures.

We spent the night not in a wiki-up, but in a lovely little local motel, The Ocean Breeze. It must have just recently been remodeled, as everything was neat and shiny and new, even though the motel was obviously older. They even gave us a sheet for Kona to sleep on. That was a first.

The next day it was raining hard, but we wanted to see more of the coast, so we headed north on 101. We  stopped at the Seal Cave, the consummate tourist destination. We were soaked just walking from the gift shop to the elevator that takes you 200 ft. down to the cave.  When the elevator doors open, you are assaulted with the intensity of the sounds, smells and sights of the cave. There are hundreds of stellar seals on the rocks and in the water, many of them roaring. (Is that the right word for what seals do?)  What were seeing were mostly mothers and yearling pups. Mating/birthing season had not started yet, so the new pups weren't being born yet, and the adult males were not back from the northern shores.  It was an amazing experience. 

This was the best picture I could get of the inside of the Seal Cave.  But you can see better pictures on their website.

We ventured further to Yachats, and had a warm and cozy lunch at The Drift Inn, a truly unique little restaurant and bar. I love these surprises along the road. After lunch we just headed back to AM Solar in Springfield, OR to pick up our RV with the new solar system. Before we could leave their shop we had to spend one more night in their parking lot so that they could do a light test in the morning. All seemed to be working, so we headed "home." With this solar set up we can now boondock if we want to, without relying exclusively on our propane generator.

On a different note, we've also found some great contra dances here in Oregon. Last night we danced in Corvallis. I think we'll dance in Portland too.  Tomorrow we move to Lincoln City for a week on the coast.

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