Friday, October 30, 2009

Moving Day

Our time in Lincoln City was counted down over the past few days with rain, rain, and then just for good measure, a little more rain. In between the frequent showers, we did go out to lunch one day at Mo’s, a locally well-known seafood restaurant:

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We also took a drive and found a covered bridge over Drift Creek:

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We had another lunch out, this time to meet Mary and David. They are former fulltimers who needed to come off the road due to some personal circumstances. I “met” Mary on the Weight Watchers community online a few years ago, so it was just like saying hello to friends when we met for at Gracies Sea Hag in Depoe Bay:

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We had a good time comparing stories and getting to know them better. They are doing a little camping on the coast before heading back to their home in Idaho.

But other than these highlights, we’ve spent a lot of time reading, playing on the computer and watching it rain for the past several days.

This morning, the weather forecast called for – what? – no rain! Good time to pull up stakes and head on out. Our destination was Winchester Bay RV Resort, just south of Reedsport, Oregon. We left Lincoln City just a little after 10 this morning for our 100 mile drive down the coast.

Even though it wasn’t raining, the clouds were low and it was definitely a gray ride:

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That is, until we arrived in the Reedsport area and found blue sky and sunshine! We got checked in at the office and found our way to our site, which has this view out the front window:

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We are just around the corner from the Umpqua Lighthouse:

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There is a one-mile walking/bike path around the resort that will provide me with a great place to walk the dogs. We’re happy to be in such a beautiful location, and look forward to doing some exploring over the next few weeks!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Day in the Country (Wine, That Is)

Friday was one of our “catch-up” days, taking care of laundry, cleaning house and doing inside things while it rained, walking the dogs and getting out for a little exercise between rain storms.

The weather forecast promised a better day Saturday, and thankfully, it turned out to be one of the prettiest days we’ve had.  The plan was to meet our friends, Joe and Jo, in Dundee, Oregon for lunch and then visit some local wineries.  Dundee is the home to the oldest winery in Oregon, as well as many others.

We drove through the Van Duzer Corridor on the way.  This is a beautiful old-growth forest along the Salmon River on Highway 18. The early morning fog set off the colors of the trees:

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Soon we were out of the forest and starting to see the rolling hills of the farmland of the Willamette Valley:

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Then we spotted this local market:

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We went inside to take a look around:

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Check out these Pink Banana Squash! 

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They had all kinds of interesting and beautiful produce here.  We decided to stop back by on our way home and pick up the makings for a new batch of salsa.  Somehow, most of our last batch ended up in Dortha’s kitchen!  She likes that salsa!

One more look around at the colorful fall decorations at Farmer John’s Produce:

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And we were on our way to our lunch destination, the Dundee Bistro:

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We enjoyed a great lunch with Joe and Jo, trading memories of the days I worked with Joe, and lots of others as well.  After lunch, we plotted our course to visit two or three wineries in the area.  Choosing which to visit wasn’t easy, as there are so many to choose from.  But we decided on the ones we especially wanted to visit and headed out.

We passed by miles and miles of vineyards, all putting on their fall colors:

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Joe, Jo, and I enjoyed sampling some of the great wines produced in this area:

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Then we passed by more awesome scenery:

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The fall colors are really amazing:

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All too soon it was time to say farewell to our friends and start back home.  As planned, we did stop at Farmer John’s and loaded up on fresh tomatoes and peppers for that salsa, which is today’s project!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Wild Oregon Coast

Bright sunshine gave way to clouds and fog today, but the big news is the wild side of the coast.  I noticed yesterday afternoon when I walked the beach that there wasn’t much beach to walk, because the water was coming up nearly to the cliffs, and today the waves are really high.

We took a drive down the coast to Newport, and along the way we stopped at Boiler Bay to watch the show.  I think now I understand why it’s called that!

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It was quite a show!

We continued on to Newport and took care of our errands there.  But then it was time to come home so the dogs could wake up and move to their respective nap spots:

falling asleep 

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All settled in and ready for whatever comes next.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Down The Coast We Go

Breakfast out started our adventure, a rarity for us these days! We really got out of the habit of going out to breakfast after I started going to Weight Watchers.

Our first stop along the way after that was at Boiler Bay, at the far northern end of Depoe Bay:

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All along the coast of Oregon there are small state parks designated as day use areas.  These typically are on a bluff overlooking the coast or near a beach, have picnic tables around, and usually provide trails or paths to the beach. They are great places to stop and get lost in the beauty of the coast.

Next stop, Yaquina Head Natural Area:

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This is a federally run area, so our America the Beautiful annual pass came in very handy, as the fee is $7 per car.

The lighthouse is one of our favorites (really, they all are!), but we’ve never been here at the right time to actually tour it before.  The woman in the hat in the lower left part of the picture below is a ranger, dressed as the lightkeeper’s wife.  She was our tour guide:

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Yaquina Head Light is the tallest on the Oregon Coast, at 93 feet.  Not that tall, compared to east coast lights, but since it sits on a bluff about 100 feet high, it equals out.  It is still an active light, although they no longer use pig lard to keep it lit!  Each lighthouse has it’s own blinking pattern, this one is 2 seconds on, 2 seconds off, 2 seconds on and 14 seconds off.

Laura, our guide, points out the location of the lighthouse on a historic map:

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The inside of the original 1868 Fresnel Lens:

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Also on this property is an area that used to be a quarry, but now has been developed as tide pools.  I should say, is being developed, because the creation of tide pools is not something that is done quickly.  When we first visited this location several years ago, there weren’t many creatures in the pools yet.  This time, we didn’t walk through them because the tide was coming in:

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Just a few miles down the road, in the town of Newport, stands another lighthouse, the Yaquina Bay Light:

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This structure, believed to be the oldest building in Newport, is part of a state park now.  It was built in 1871, but decommissioned as a navigational aid three years later.  In 1966, the State of Oregon reactivated it.  It has been completely restored with period furniture, and is the only Oregon Lighthouse with living quarters attached.  The light is a steady beam, controlled by a photo cell to shine at night and is located 161 feet above sea level.

We spent a little time in the park, walking the dogs and enjoying the area before heading on south down the coast.  Eventually we decided to have lunch in the little town of Yachats, at a restaurant located on a bluff with a view:

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Everywhere we stopped on this adventure, we noticed pelicans – many, many brown pelicans.  They were in great  abundance all along the coast.  There is a big flock of them in the center of the picture above.

After enjoying a delicious seafood lunch, we started our homeward trek.  It was a beautiful day, no rain, beautiful scenery and great company.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunrise Over Devils Lake

A few weeks ago, I got tangled up with the Pacific Ocean and got my camera wet.  We sent the camera and lens to Canon, with a faint bit of hope that it could be repaired.  Not.  It was sent back to us with a note that it was beyond repair, and we (Jim) tossed it into the dumpster.  Yikes!  I was determined to live without it, but after much consternation, I gave in and ordered a new one.

This time I got a Canon Rebel Xsi with 12mp.  It’s very similar to the one I had (Rebel Xti).  I also ordered (gulp) the 18 – 200mm image stabilized lens, just like the one I had.  I have a feeling I will be much more careful about where I step from now on!

I went out at sunrise this morning, which is pretty easy to do as far as the time, since it doesn’t even think about coming up until after 7 these days.  The trick is having a sunrise here in Oregon!  But today was perfect, so I’m sharing a shot of the sunrise over Devils Lake, just across the street from our rv park:

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Today we are going to drive down the coast, visit some lighthouses and see what there is to photograph.  Stay tuned, more pictures to come!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday From Lincoln City

Every day we read the weather forecast and see we’re going to have stormy weather. But, the temperatures continue to be in the 60’s during the day, 50’s at night, and the promised rain hasn’t really materialized. Well, it has rained a little - just enough to keep us from spending much time on outside activities.

Wednesday was a little chillier and much windier, though, and I wanted to see if the ocean was stormy. We took a drive up the coast a ways, but figured out our best view would be from Road’s End, where there is a parking lot on the bluff above the beach.

If you look closely in the background, you’ll see the cliffs shrouded in fog and the high waves where there is usually a beach. The gulls were huddling together against the wind:

Jim 012By later in the afternoon, though, the wind had died down and there was no more rain. We had an early, light dinner and I went off to the Wednesday evening Weight Watchers meeting.

Yesterday we needed to go to Newport to pick up Jim’s prescription and do a little shopping for a few groceries we haven’t found here in Lincoln City. There is a Wal-Mart in Newport, and a Fred Meyer, so we stopped at both places. We also wanted to see about some raincoats that Dortha & Mark and Deb & Rod got a good deal on. Jim discussed the location of the store with Deb via Facebook and email, so we went right to the store and got ourselves some fleece lined jackets. They were on sale, $25 each if you bought two or more. So, if it does start raining, we’re ready!

After the shopping, we stopped in Depoe Bay. Dortha mentioned a winery there that has cranberry wine, and I wanted to check it out:

Jim 013 I ended up with several bottles of different kinds of wine, including the cranberry. Thanks for the tip, Dortha!

We decided to eat at Tidal Raves, and got a nice window table with this view:

Jim 020 We were home in time to get everything put away and settle in for Thursday night TV.

This morning when we got up we saw this strange light in the sky:

Jim 029For a few minutes, we had high hopes of actually seeing the sun, but it was not to be. The clouds won out again, and it’s been another gray day. However, it has not rained much, the wind has been calm and it’s been in the 60’s again all day. Jim did the laundry and I cut my hair , cleaned house, and walked the dogs around the rv park about 5 times.

Another busy week, but someone has to do this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Life in Lincoln City

Yes, we’re still here on the Oregon coast, still loving where we are and what we’re doing.  Our days have consisted of some routine chores like deep cleaning, polishing and minor maintenance tasks.  Thrown into the mix have been a dinner party for Joe and Jo, my former boss and his wife, who spent the weekend here on the coast, and of course, the sightseeing and beach walking.

I have signed up for a 10-use pass at the local community center, where I can use the pool and/or fitness room.  That certainly expands my opportunity to help keep my waistline from expanding!  With all of the running around we do, it’s so easy to stop and have a late lunch out instead of cooking.  We’ve had some really great food here, but it is challenging to make appropriate choices all the time.  But, with continuing to attend Weight Watcher meetings and my exercise habits, my weight is staying stable.  I have to admit, the losing phase was a lot more exciting, however, the maintenance is critical to me!

Yesterday we chose to go beach-hopping to the south.  We stopped at Gleneden Beach and took a quick look around, then moved down to Fogarty Beach.  That’s one of our favorite places along the coast because it’s such an interesting beach.  It isn’t the best for taking long walks, but it gets a lot of sea “junk” washed up, like driftwood, seaweed and all sorts of interesting things.  There are rocks that have wonderful tide pools at low tide as well.  Several years ago, my family rented a house for a week at Christmas and spent the holiday at this beach:

Jim 029 Jim climbed the rocks at Rocky Point:

Ellie 053 He took some  really neat surf pictures:

Jim 010 We made a stop at Cape Foulweather and visited this little shop while we enjoyed an awesome view:

Jim 052 We continued on to the next stop at Otter Point.  We visited the Flying Dutchman winery here and sampled some of their wine.  They purchase premium grapes from other Oregon locations, but make the wine here on the coast.  Here are some of the grapes being readied:

Jim 075 By this time we were getting hungry, so we decided to stop on the way home and have a late lunch in Depoe Bay at Gracie’s Sea Hag, our second-favorite restaurant there:

Ellie 055Back home, we settled in for an evening of Monday night football, and the  Colorado Rockies last game of the baseball season.  They had a good one, just not quite good enough!

The next few days are expected to be cool, windy and rainy, but it’s ok with us, as long as it doesn’t get too cool!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Newport and a Day at Home

Yesterday we decided would be a good time to visit Newport, about 20 miles south of here.  It happens to be the location of the nearest Walmart and Fred Meyer stores.  For those not familiar with them, Fred Meyer stores are what I think of as the West Coast Super Walmart alternative.  I know for some people, life without Super Walmart is pretty much unheard of, but out here on the West Coast, they are few and far between.  Fred Meyer is a similar type of store, with groceries and all the other stuff too, and most decent-size towns have them.

We left here in fog and mist, but the sun finally won out and started shining in the afternoon.

We stopped just before entering Newport to take some pictures of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse:

Jim 005 And the beach:

Jim 007We made our stops at Walmart and Fred Meyer, then had lunch at the Newport Cafe.  Then it was on to the historic Port of Newport at Yaquina Bay, where we visited the resident sea lions who were enjoying the warmth:

Jim 023 I wish I had sound effects so you could hear them barking – they were noisy!

Ellie 036We stopped in a few shops, made some purchases, and then decided we’d better head back so I would be in time for the Weight Watchers meeting, which started at 6:30.  But not until we had a picture of the Yaquina Bay bridge:

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To day has been a work day at home.  Jim did the laundry while I started cleaning house. Maybe not real exciting, but it feels good to get things accomplished.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beach Day

Jim 004_2 There isn’t much to report today.  It’s really been a boring day...  Our main activity for the day has been to load up a batch of tuna salad, bread and all the lunch stuff that goes along with that and head downtown to the D River Beach in the middle of Lincoln City.

We took our lawn chairs, books, and a lap blanket just in case we got chilly.  We set up shop where we could sit and watch the waves with our feet up on a log, and just settled in for the day.

We enjoyed people watching, wave watching, bird watching, and reading.  We ate lunch and repeated the above.  I walked, and then we repeated the above.  The ocean was particularly calm today, the sky clear and the winds calm.

Around 2:30, it started to get a little breezy, and finally, we decided to move the party home.

Ah, it’s a rough life, but somebody’s got to do this.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hiking Cascade Head

Yesterday was Sunday, which at this time of the year simply translates to “Football Day”.  I have the day pretty much to myself, in other words.  I did a few loads of laundry, went to the store for a few groceries, and took my usual walk on the beach.   There are three TV shows I like to watch that come on Sunday evening, so Jim gets to watch the last game of the day from the comfort of the bedroom, and I take over the living room, and so went our day.

Today, I had a couple of errands to run this morning, and Jim took care of the required maintenance on our hot water heater.  He changed the anode rod and flushed the heater out.  That is something that needs to be done about every 6 months.

Once our chores were done, we gathered ourselves together and took off to see if we could find the trailhead for an easy hike on Cascade Head.  I found the information about this trail from poking around on Google Earth and doing a search for hiking trails in this area.  Cascade Head is located just a few miles north of Lincoln City, and is named for the cascades that pour off its cliffs into the ocean.  There are 3 trails that provide different levels of difficulty, we chose the high trail to the upper viewpoint, which is the easiest hike.  This beautiful and wild area was threatened with development in the 1960’s, but a group of conservationists managed to purchase it and donate it to the Nature Conservancy for preservation.  Ironically, the area is now threatened by all the nature-loving visitors who come to enjoy the wild beauty.  As a result, two of the trailheads are closed part of the year.

The directions to the trailhead provided on the internet were exactly right, and we found it with no problem, even though the turn-off from Highway 101 wasn’t marked.

From the highway, we drove just over 3 miles on a dirt road to reach the trailhead:

Jim 004_1 We began our hike through the forest of second-growth Douglas fir, spruce and alder.  The sign at the beginning of the trail described what we could expect:

Jim 008 It was an easy trail:Ellie 029 With some pretty big trees:

Jim 018 Close to a mile into the hike, we came out of the forest to the meadow.  That dot in the center of the picture below is Jim:

Ellie 037 Just over the crest of the hill, we got this view:

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The beach above the ridge is “my” beach. It runs nearly the entire length of Lincoln City, and is accessible from 5 or 6 different places in town.

Just slightly east from the coast is the estuary of the Salmon River, shown below from Cascade Head.  Every day that we’ve driven across the bridge crossing this river on Highway 101, there have been lines of cars parked along the sides of the road and people are lined up along the river banks, fishing.

Ellie 035We stayed up  here, taking in the incredible beauty for quite a while before making the 1 mile trek back to the car. 

A late lunch seemed to be a good idea once we got back into Lincoln City, so we stopped by a local place for a quick sandwich.  What an incredible day!