18-26 May 2015; More of the Coast, Dunes, Lighthouses, Redwoods and Back to the Interior

I’ve said before that I wasn’t going to wait this long between posts because it’s just too hard to recount everything.  I should listen to my own advice.  It has been a very busy and enjoyable past 11 days!  We are still enthralled by this part of the country, and hope the pictures we have in this post do this place some justice!

I mentioned previously that we could only book Honeyman State Park through Friday, the 22nd because they were full for the holiday weekend.  We had our name on the waiting list, and made sure to check with the Ranger each morning, but things were not looking good, so we put plan B into action.  We decided that it would be best if we got a bit further away from the major tourist area for the weekend, so we started looking further south.  We did end up finding a potential Passport America Park in Port Orford, OR but the problem was that you can only make PA reservations 48 hours in advance.  So…with that in mind, we headed out exploring.

Monday, the 18th was a gorgeous day, even though rain and clouds had been predicted.  We decided to head north from our camp near Florence, to the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint.  This area was restored top to bottom in 2011, and is still a working lighthouse.  Its location high above the rocky bluffs make it a perfect place for hopefully seeing sea lions and whales.

From the beach looking up toward the Keepers house which is now operating as a Bed and Breakfast.

From the beach looking up toward the Keepers house which is now operating as a Bed and Breakfast.

The keepers house which was restored to operate as a B&B.  There were two houses here, but only one survived.

The keepers house which was restored to operate as a B&B. There were two houses here, but only one survived.  The views from the porch overlooking the ocean are fantastic.

The back of the lighthouse from a trail up above.  This lighthouse projects 26 miles off shore.

The back of the lighthouse from a trail up above. This lighthouse projects over 20 miles off shore.

We were able to get up close and personal with the lens and the light.  These used to be powered by oil, which caused a mess that had to be cleaned every day.  The original lenses in these things are still in use.  What great craftsmanship.

We were able to get up close and personal with the lens and the light. These used to be powered by oil, which caused a mess that had to be cleaned every day. The original lenses in these things are still in use. What great craftsmanship.

The views were great, and there were not only lighthouse volunteers on site, but wildlife volunteers as well.  We were able to look though a telescope at some sea lions on the rocks in the distance.

The views were great, and there were not only lighthouse volunteers on site, but wildlife volunteers as well. We were able to look though a telescope at some sea lions on the rocks in the distance.

We were also very fortunate to see some Gray Whales making their trek north with their calves.  I had so zoom in on this photo, so hopefully you can see it breeching.  The grays stay close to the shore to mask the sound of their calves with the surf.  This apparently keeps the Beluga whales from hearing the calves and feasting on them for lunch!

We were also very fortunate to see some Gray Whales making their trek north with their calves. I had to zoom in on this photo, so hopefully you can see it breeching. The grays stay close to the shore to mask the sound of their calves with the surf. This apparently keeps the Killer whales from hearing the calves and feasting on them for lunch!

We then drove a bit further north on the coast, and checked out a nice first come, first served state park named Carl G. Washburne Memorial Park.  It was real nice, but kind of tight, so we will keep it in mind in case we cannot find anything else.  What we did decide at that point is that we would leave Honeyman on Thursday in any case in order to beat the holiday RV crowds that would be headed our way.

We saw a lot of landscape including Cape Perpetua and Yachats.  All real nice.  We then drove back into Florence to check out the neat Port town.  Not much was open on Monday, but we got a good feel for the place.

The Port in Florence at the Siuslaw River where it meets the Ocean.

The Port in Florence at the Sinislaw River where it meets the Ocean.

The bridge on 101 over the Siuslaw River.  They have really picturesque bridges in this state.

The bridge on 101 over the Sinislaw River. They have really picturesque bridges in this state.

On Tuesday we stuck pretty close to home.  I got the Coach washed, waxed and all, and also cleaned the truck.  We checked the park out a bit more, and also headed back into Florence and did some shopping…the kind I like…we didn’t buy anything:)

Wednesday was mostly a gloomy day, and we finally made our reservations for the weekend!  We got a reservation for Thurs through Sunday night at the Port Orford RV village which is about 90 miles from Honeyman.  After we were done with all of that, we made a trip to the grocery store, and Terri bought a sand sled so she could check out the dunes!!

These dunes cover an area of about 40 miles along the coast.  They are not from the ocean, but rather left over from mountains that were once here.  There are very mineral rich, and provide a great attraction for off-road vehicles, which were pulling in by the droves for the weekend...another good reason to move.

These dunes cover an area of about 40 miles along the coast. They are not from the ocean, but rather left over from mountains that were once here. There are very mineral rich, and provide a great attraction for off-road vehicles, which were pulling in by the droves for the weekend…another good reason to move.  That is Terri in the distance, working her way up a dune.

She tried several areas, but the thing just didn't want to go!  So we went steeper, and steeper, and found that the north facing dunes are much "slicker."  Off she goes!

She tried several areas, but the thing just didn’t want to go! So we went steeper, and steeper, and found that the north facing dunes are much “slicker.” Off she goes!

She had a really good head of steam going...so much so that she decided to do some acrobatics.  It was quite a nice flip.  I wonder if she planned that??

She had a really good head of steam going…so much so that she decided to do some acrobatics. It was quite a nice flip. I wonder if she planned that??

We were up early on Thursday and on our way before 10:00.  It is not easy to find a place that will fit a motorhome to refuel on the Coast, but we did find one in Florence and got that taken care of and headed South.  On the way, we got a text from Jason and Meghan.  Jason was promoted to Captain on Thursday.  What a proud day for all!

Meghan took this pinning on thing seriously!  Jason said she stuck the things to his collar bone.  No wonder he is grimacing.  She seems to be enjoying it though!

Meghan took this pinning on thing seriously! Jason said she stuck the things to his collar-bone. No wonder he is grimacing. She seems to be enjoying it though!

We arrived at the Port Orford Park early in the afternoon, and we were all set up in short order.  It is a nice, clean park, and the owners are very nice.  The sites are a bit closer than what we have become used to in state parks, be very nice just the same.

It seems I've had my flag attached to the truck more than the RV lately.  Either I have trees or in this case, electrical wires in the way of the back of the Coach.

It seems I’ve had my flag attached to the truck more than the RV lately. Either I have trees or in this case, electrical wires in the way of the back of the Coach.

They provide some nice touches for each camp site.

They provide some nice touches for each camp site.

It is very chilly on this part of the coast.  I know it didn’t hit 70 the entire four days we were there.  We did have sun each day, but the wind in this area is also relentless.  A very nice, quiet area though.  Friday we were up early, as we found a local newspaper and learned of some estate sales in town.  This is a great way to get to know the local folks, and see how they live.  First, we stopped at a local place for breakfast, and had a nice chat with the owner about the area.  We went to two estate sales, and I think we knew the entire townsfolk by the time we were done.  That didn’t take long, so off we went to the Port Orford Lifeboat Station, which is a Oregon State Park, and free.  This station was built in 1934 on a high bluff with a lookout tower.  The 36 foot boats were actually slid down a ramp into the water, and hoisted back out after each rescue.  Apparently, the good land near the beach was held in high regard by the fisherman, so the only choice was to build up high and figure out how to make it work.  This is a real nice stop, and great history.  Many of the buildings on the grounds have been refurbished to their original state.

Looking down into the bay where the lifeboats were launched.

Looking down into the bay where the lifeboats were launched.

Here you can see the remnants of the boat slide and the breakwater that was installed to protect the boats.

Here you can see the remnants of the boat slide and the breakwater that was installed to protect the boats.

Since it was still fairly early in the morning, we decided to take a drive further south.  We took a drive over to Humbug Mountain and checked out their state park, which is very nice as well.  We continued on down the coast, and stopped at Nesika Beach to check it out and see if we could find any agates.

A nice beach area, and supposed to be one of the best for agates.

A nice beach area, and supposed to be one of the best for agates.

We found some...I think!  Even if not, they are neat looking rocks.

We found some…I think! Even if not, they are neat looking rocks.

At this point, we realized that we were not too far from the California state border, and the Redwoods, so we decided to trek onward.  We ended up at the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and finally got to see the Redwoods!  A very nice area and neat to see.  We didn’t travel on to the Trail of the Giants, as it would have been too late.  But we did see some neat trees!

Inside the Camp Ground at the park.

Inside the Camp Ground at the park.

Just a nice little tree along the road.

Just a nice little tree along the road.

We got back to Port Orford just in time for a Friday night fish fry at The Crazy Norwegian!  It was awesomeness in batter!  I had the fish fry and Terri had the Rockfish Tacos.  We will stop here to eat again if ever in the area.

We were up early again on Saturday, and decided to head to the Cape Blanco State Park to visit the Hughes House, Cape Blanco Lighthouse, the Campground and the beach.

This house was built in 1898, and had been restored to perfection.  We learned a lot from the state park volunteer tour guide, who is from Montana.  He and his wife spend a month or two here each year providing tours in exchange for free camping!

This house was built in 1898, and had been restored to perfection. We learned a lot from the state park volunteer tour guide, who is from Montana. He and his wife spend a month or two here each year providing tours in exchange for free camping!

The Hughes Family actually cleared and settled this land along the Sixes River in the early 1800’s.  The house was built much later, and Mr. Hughes barely got to live in it as he was killed in a farming accident.  He built quite an operation.  In the mid 1800’s they were milking over 100 head of dairy cattle by hand!!  They had three sons that stayed on the farm and about 14 hands.  They provided the local area as well as most of Northern California with butter and cheese.  There are many great displays within the house and great history!

We proceeded up tot he Cape Blanco lighthouse.  This has to be one of the most picturesque lighthouses we have seen.  It is a bit smaller, but the eleven of the cliff it is on doesn't require it to be too tall.  We were agin treated to an awesome tour by volunteers.  We also got in for free for being retired military!

We proceeded up to the Cape Blanco lighthouse. This has to be one of the most picturesque lighthouses we have seen. It is a bit smaller, but the elevation of the cliff it is on doesn’t require it to be too tall. We were again treated to an awesome tour by volunteers. We also got in for free for being retired military!

Up close and personal with the sense once again.  This is also an operating lighthouse.

Up close and personal with the lens once again. This is also an operating lighthouse.

We then took a drive around the campground, which is very nice, and also went down to the beach and just walked around for a bit.

Tons of driftwood along the beach.

Tons of driftwood along the beach.

 

Tons of driftwood on the beach, and nice stuff to build shelters I guess??

Nice stuff to build shelters I guess??

 

Me looking for more Agates.

Me looking for more Agates.

On Sunday we stayed close to home, watched the race, played some cards and got ready to move on Monday.  We really didn’t know where we were moving to, but knew it would be back to the interior.  One neat thing about Port Orford is they hoist the fishing boats in and out of the water each day.  This is apparently the only place on the coast they do this.  We didn’t get to see them do that because it was too windy however.  We did take a few other drives while we were on the coast and checked out a few other state parks that would be nice to stay at.  We are also keeping an eye out for parks that we may want to camp host at sometime in the future.  Oregon is very diverse geographically, and I don’t know if we will be able to see it all in this trip or not.

On Monday we fired up and hit the road by 09:30.  We took 101 north to Reedsport, where we caught scenic highway 38 which followed the Umpqua River all the way to our turn off at I-5.  While making the drive, we saw awesome landscape once again, quite a few Elk and a lot of other RV’s heading back to the valley.  While driving, we decided to head in a direction that would eventually lead us to Bend.  We had a couple of ideas.  I had found a state park called Detroit Lakes off of highway 22 east of Salem.  It looked like a great place for us and close to a spot we had been told to visit several times called Silver Falls State Park.  Terri was doing some research as well, and found a really nice BLM park on highway 22 near Mills City.  We pulled in about 3:30, and the staff couldn’t have been nicer!  The sites are huge, well maintained and FHU with 50 AMP for $22 per night…a much better price than we have seen elsewhere.  In fact, we were only gong to stay two nights, but I just ran down to the office and extended for at least one night.  We will have to decide yet today if we want it to be longer or not.  There is still lot to see here.

Site 15B which faces the woods, not far from the river, and is very spacious.

Site 15B which faces the woods, not far from the river, and is very spacious.

 

The Santium River is very close.

The Santium River is very close.

A private "Patio" with fire ring, picnic table and all!

A private “Patio” with fire ring, picnic table and all!

We were up real early on Tuesday to head to Silver Falls State Park and the Trail of Ten Falls!  The park has more than 25 miles of multiple-use trails, but the part we were headed for is a 8.7 mile hike that skirts the North and South fork of Silver Creek and the 10 waterfalls…so here we go!

South Falls...177 feet high!

South Falls…177 feet high!

 

You are able to get behind alot of the falls here!

You are able to get behind a lot of the falls here!

Kewl Breeze!

Kewl Breeze!

Majestic!

Majestic!

Lower south Falls

Lower south Falls

 

Looking out from behind the falls.

Looking out from behind the falls.

Lower North Falls.

Lower North Falls.

Double Falls...178 feet high.

Double Falls…178 feet high.

The trails are immaculately kept up, and as a bonus, there are Golden Raspberries growing all along the path.

The trails are immaculately kept up, and as a bonus, there are Golden Raspberries growing all along the path.

Middle North Falls.

Middle North Falls.

 

Awesomeness...can't say more than that.

Awesomeness…can’t say more than that.

 

Middle North Falls.

Middle North Falls.

North Falls.

North Falls.

Behind North Falls.

Behind North Falls.

Another view form the side.

Another view from the side.

136 feet high.

136 feet high.

Upper North falls.

Upper North falls.

 

Winter Falls...named for the Winter river that runs between the forks of the Silver, and also is most majestic after the winter run-off.

Winter Falls…named for the Winter river that runs between the forks of the Silver, and also is most majestic after the winter run-off.

Can you see me?  These trees are just as majestic as the Redwoods that we saw were.

Can you see me? These trees are just as majestic as the Redwoods that we saw were.

We did see all ten falls, but only got pictures of 9 of them.  One just wasn’t in a good spot to get a pic.  It was a great 8.7 mile hike!!

Well, that took a while!  I had to run out a couple of times while writing this.  Tech Tip:  Pay attention to everything, and know what looks and sounds right and what doesn’t.  When we left Port Orford and brought the LR slide in, it seemed to jump a bit at the end…not a good thing.  Also, when we got here and I put the slide out, the back seemed to lag behind the front..also not good!  Good thing we are near Junction City!  I sent Kevin Waite an e-mail last night, and he responded first thing and said I should try to get hold of Bob Vinson.  I did, and we will meet Bob in Harrisburg on Monday.  I have a reservation at the River Bend RV Resort (another PA park…50% off) for Sunday and Monday.  So…then it was back to the office here at Fisherman’s Bend to extend again.  These folks are great here!  As I pulled up, they said I hope you’re extending!  In any case, Bob thinks that the slide is most likely out of alignment, which he says is a simple fix.  Otherwise, I may have a broken bolt in the slide which will mean a much more laborious process.  We will see.

Before we go, we want to leave you with a few tidbits we have picked up along the way about Oregon…Terri has been keeping a list, and in no particular order:

  • Very cool bridges!  They are everywhere.
  • No road debris.  Theses are the cleanest roads we have seen anywhere.
  • Roads are all well planned and in good repair.  We have taken many side roads, and had no issues.
  • Most signs read that “About 10,000 years ago” this major geological thing happened versus “millions and millions of years ago”
  • Bike lanes everywhere…however, I’m not sure I’d want to bike along most of 101.
  • Road signs for scenic routes, POI’s, etc. are well marked.
  • Very few billboards
  • Wineries and Breweries everywhere
  • Antiques everywhere…and they all have different names, well used, knick knack’s, whatever..marketing I guess.
  • Hiking trails all over the place.
  • Passing lanes every so often on the two lanes roads
  • Rhody’s!  Or Rhododendrons…everywhere
  • Correct pronunciation of Oregon. “OR UH GUN”  never “OR EE GONE.”  As Terri says, it’s like you can bring a knife, “or a gun”
  • So many nurseries east of Portland (toward Mount Hood) which grew crazy trees and bushes we’d never seen before
  • There are no dummies here:)  Have to ask Terri for more elaboration on that.
  • Logging everywhere
  • Thick green moss in the tropical areas
  • Drive Through Coffee stands all over the place…reminds us of Anchorage.

That is it for now folks…off to hike somewhere.  As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy, and Living Your Dreams!!

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