Sunday, June 28, 2015

Coos Bay Area

We moved north to Bluebill Campground in Oregon Dunes NRA - a nice little-used campground.  On our way, we drove over the Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge.  The cantilever truss bridge is 5,305 feet long, which was the longest along the coast when it was built in 1936.

Once over the bridge, the GPS announced that we'll be making a left turn in the middle of the next bridge.

It turned out to be two causeways, but it did give us a start for a minute.

Bluebill Campground fit all our requirements, and had a nice mile trail around Bluebill Lake.

The campground host was very self-motivated: he landscaped the outhouse.

We went to pretty Shore Acres State Park.  What a place!

It seems we visited at a good time.  There were still some azaleas in bloom.

The hydrangeas were just starting their show.

There were dahlias.

As well as some more unusual plants like this monkey puzzle tree.

And an evergreen dogwood tree.

There was a pond with water lilies.

But the real stars of the park are the roses.  I always like the two-toned ones.

More pretty roses.

So pretty.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cape Blanco

As you might have noticed, we've been having really nice weather.  With no sign of that nasty coastal fog for several days now, I thought we were finally out of that pattern.  Today's blue sky was no exception when we left Gold Beach to drive 40 miles to Cape Blanco State Park.

At the halfway point, we stopped to rest at a pullout with a lovely view of Humbug Mountain.  What a great name that is!

Continuing on our way, we made the turn for Cape Blanco, situated at Oregon's most western point, and there it was.

Well, I can certainly see why they need a lighthouse!

So we found a spot for the RV in the campground, which, surprisingly, wasn't foggy at all, and drove back to helpful Port Orford.

At Port Orford Heads State Park, we walked the headlands trail to several nice viewpoints.  The only fog was way out in the ocean . . .

Until we looked back north to Cape Blanco.

Ron spotted the seals on the rocks far below.

I think they're smiling.

Everything in Oregon just seems so pretty and green.

Although Ron is the sign reader, I did find this one about the coastline to be interesting.  I'll split it into two so you can read it.

Gee, I wonder how big Florida was.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wrap It Up

We really enjoyed our stay in Gold Beach.  Every morning we watched the jet boat tours head up the Rogue River.  We briefly thought about taking one, but the shortest tour is 5 1/2 hours.  Even with a stop for lunch, that's just too long in a boat.  And I like boats!

We drove up Jerry's Flat Road to about the 10-mile mark and followed the turnoff sign for Frances Shrader Old Growth Trail.  After a long two-mile climb, we finally arrived.  We had not really expected much, because, after all, we had seen all those redwood trees, but we were impressed.

The stars of this forest are the Douglas fir trees which can live 600 years,

And the lovely Port Orford cedar trees, which can live to 1000 years, but are being killed by a disease that infects the roots.  I love cedars.  Just look at the interesting bark on a mature tree and the foliage from a young one.

We were surprised to see wild bleeding heart

The trail brochure pointed this out as an old trail blaze - whether Native American or early settler, I'm not sure.

At over 10 feet in diameter and 220 feet tall, this tree might look like a redwood, but it's a Douglas fir.  (I like posing next to big objects so I appear smaller.)

We drove back home using the road on the north side of the river.  I had to stop and snap a picture of us parked on the other side.

And one of the art deco column at the end of the I.L Patterson Bridge.

We decided to stay one more day so Ron could work on the RV's furnace which had been making some noise.  (Remember we're on the coast and it does sometimes get cold at night.)

I'm happy to say he only had one little screw left over when he reinstalled it!

As a treat for the German in him, we went to the Black Forest Restaurant for dinner.  Located in Honey Bear Campground, it has been owned and operated by Gary and Jeannett Saks since 1979. The menu is set each night with two delicious options for the entree, one usually being a German favorite.

Gary is the very personable host and entertainer.  I know many of our WIN friends remember how much fun we had there on our previous visits.

On our way home we stopped at Otter Point State Recreation Site to walk off a bit of that good home cooking.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

More Gold Beach

While in Gold Beach, we also explored a little more of the coast and hiked along the Rogue River.  Our first stop was Cape Sebastian State Park with a hike that had gotten good reviews for its views.  For the first 1/4 of a mile, that was true.


At that point, we should have turned around, because that was as good as it got.  But no, I kept going even after Ron turned around when he realized the trail was going steadily downhill.  At 3/4 of a mile, I also gave up at this gorgeous viewpoint.

Then I huffed and puffed back up the hill and congratulated Ron on his good judgement.

A much more enjoyable hike was along the Rogue River Walk.  We caught the trail about a mile from where we were staying.  The whole trail is about 6 miles long and was built by members of a local hiking club and volunteers.

The trail is mostly level through lovely Myrtlewood trees,

With views of the Rogue River.

What's that way over there on the gravel bar?  Why it's an eagle with a very angry crow.

At one point we were sitting on one of the many benches and were startled by a ruckus behind us.  It was a flicker feeding his babies.  Cool.

I knew it was the male because he had the telltale red mustache, although you can't tell from this picture.  Actually, it looks like the two babies are males, too, by the hint of red on their cheeks.  Ron said he saw a third at one point.  That was probably a female being pushed to the back by her brothers.  Typical.

After about 2 miles, we turned around at this point.  The Rogue is designated as a Wild and Scenic River, but that is far upstream from this point.  Here it's calm, but still scenic.

Monday, June 22, 2015


This is the first time on this trip that I am posting about a place while we're still here.  We arrived in Gold Beach three days ago and, although we haven't found any gold, we do have a golden place to stay.  Just four miles east of town on Jerry's Flat Rd. is a large gravel area perfect for boondocking.

We're on the south side of the Rogue River and can wave to the jet boats as they pass by.  You probably wouldn't want to park here in the spring when it might be underwater.

Here's our view out the front window.

The Gold Beach harbor and its surroundings have some interesting attractions.  On the north side, there's the cat condos, erected by caring folks to house stray cats.  At least I think it's for cats, but what's with all the dog pictures?  Regardless, we didn't see any cats or dogs, just a gull.

In the harbor we saw sea lions feasting on salmon at the mouth of the Rogue River. Funny thing, when we were here in 2011, the harbor seals were hanging out here.

We were told the fishermen really hate the sea lions taking their catch.  I thought that was understandable, but when they bad-mouthed the osprey, I thought that was going a bit too far.  It was fun to watch them swoop in for a meal.   I even captured one on a video.

We were surprised to see this big ship at the mouth of the harbor.  It seems to belong to the Army Corps of Engineers.  Maybe Paul can tell us its purpose.

Moving to the south side of the harbor, we observed the contrast between the remains of the Mary D. Hume and the southernmost of the gorgeous Oregon bridges.  Built in 1931, the I.L. Patterson Memorial Bridge was the first in the country to be built using pre-stressed concrete.  It's a beauty.

I couldn't help feeling sad about the boat disintegrating into the harbor.  After 97 years of glorious service as schooner, tugboat, cannery tender and whaling vessel, the Mary D was retired to Gold Beach, where she had been built in 1880.  Here is a series of pictures showing the rapid decay since her return in 1978.