Monday, July 13, 2015

Loving Florence - Even the Mechanic, Park Worker, Police Officer and Restaurant Owner

For our "in between state parks" stop we stayed in Florence at the Hecata Beach RV Park. Just north of town, this little private park is set back in the trees and is very quiet. There are both pull-throughs with w/e, and back-ins with full-hookups, and all of them have tall landscaping on both sides. 
 
Photo from website
Their WiFi was slow, but mostly worked. With a small store and one shower/restroom building plus laundry, it is a perfect base to explore another beautiful area of Oregon Coast. We would definitely stay here again.

Bill printed out a one-day fishing license and early our first morning we set out in search of a spot. Lots of small lakes in the area - lots! Unfortunately there is little if any public access as private homes surround each of them. While checking out one of the turnouts our battery light came on the dash.

Combined with a new humming noise under the hood Bill figured it was the alternator and we headed back to town. Whipped out the IPhone and in less than ten minutes we were pulling into Tony's Garage just off the highway.

It took one minute to confirm it was the alternator and three quick phone calls to confirm they could have a new one from Eugene in two hours. They were very busy but assured us they would move quickly once the part arrived.

Alright, let's go check out Florence. We headed to a city park where the sign said no dogs, but the park worker said come on in :-) A walk around the perimeter and through a small neighborhood we found the new Military Museum where we thought the dog park was. A local police car was pulling out and I asked where the park was - down five blocks.

Hoping to find a public "facility" we opted to head back toward the main street.  Just before we turned on the street for Tony's the police officer pulled up. Said he'd seen two loose large dogs "heading your way" and he had gone back looking for us to make sure we didn't run into them with our dog. Seriously? Great guy.

Grabbed a couple sodas and made use of the McDonalds, then returned to Tony's where the part had just arrived. Hung out in the small lobby and Tony gave Bill a couple ideas for fishing access. As promised, 40 minutes later we were back on the road.

Old Town Florence is a pretty and peaceful area along the Suislaw River with numerous eateries and small shops. We again consulted BringFido.com and found the Maple Street Grille. Hands down the best meal I've had since we launched. The owner waited on us, and the previous owner stopped by to say hi to her and a couple local customers (this matters later).

Fresh tomato and zucchini soup and crab cake

After lunch we went to check out Tony's recommendation. Cleawox Lake in the Honeyman State Park not only has lake access, but picnic tables right on the water. A beautiful park with multiple activities including bike trails, kayaking, ATV riding, fishing and interpretive programs. I was surprised it wasn't busier on the weekend. Bill caught and released a couple (we think they were perch?) while I read and Tessa napped. Perfect.

Honeyman Interpretive Center - a beautiful building


Finally

Oregon Dunes edge Cleawox Lake

A beautiful day to be lake side

While we had full hookups I decided the next day to get laundry caught up and a little house cleaning done. Sue had recommended another couple places in Old Town so we chose the one with outdoor seating for lunch. Restobar 1285 did not disappoint! My manicotti and Bill's crab melt were both delicious. We even had a few minutes of light rain which smelled and sounded wonderful. The owner waited on us here as well - and guess who it was? Yep, the previous owner of Maple St who we saw the day before. Gotta love small towns.

And love Florence we did. Not only is it a decent size town with most amenities and gorgeous ocean, lakes and forests, but the local people are incredibly friendly and helpful. And damn the food is really good too!





 



26 comments:

  1. We loved Florence too. Well, most of all we loved being on the Oregon Coast. It's such a beautiful area and the weather is perfect during the summer.

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    1. It's sure been perfect for us this year!

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  2. Having spent 50 years in giant, chaotic San Diego I have a new found love for small towns. Sounds like you do too!

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    1. Yes we do. Bill and I lived in a very small town as kids and much prefer them to the big cities of our adult lives.

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  3. And they sell pack rat traps at the local hardware store!

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    1. See? Everything you need! Glad we didn't need those :-(

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  4. Replies
    1. Very. It was one of those places where you wanted to talk softly - even in your own car :-)

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  5. Good food, good people and a beautiful view...you can't ask for a nicer place to have mechanical trouble! Glad it went smooth for you.

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    1. We drove away and said "Did we really just have car trouble and got it fixed that easily?" Great little town.

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  6. We've broken down a couple of times far from home. Once brakes (no one was hurt) and once was the alternator. Our mechanics and locales weren't nearly as nice as yours. Sounds like a fine day after all :-)
    I'm not into fishing so a peaceful lake, a kindle and a comfy chair suits me just fine!

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    1. We were definitely fortunate to find Tony! It's funny, I don't have to have a pole in the water, but I do enjoy being "there".

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  7. What a good time:) It was so nice that you found a town full of helpful, friendly people. Boy, that policeman really went above and beyond:)

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  8. What a good time:) It was so nice that you found a town full of helpful, friendly people. Boy, that policeman really went above and beyond:)

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  9. What a good time:) It was so nice that you found a town full of helpful, friendly people. Boy, that policeman really went above and beyond:)

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    1. I was nearly speechless when he pulled up and said "You guys walk too fast." And then told us he'd been looking for us since he saw those loose dogs! Even that park maintenance guy made us feel so welcome :-)

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  10. Clearly full timing was made for you two. You find a great place between state parks with every amenity you need and friendly people. Well done!!

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    1. We're sure loving it so far! And we've been pretty lucky in our choices of private parks.

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  11. What a lovely stay. Nice police officer, garage guy, etc. Remember these times when the other times sneak up on ya ;-) I love small towns too!

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    1. Definitely! They won't always be as nice and I'll have to read my own post :-))))

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  12. Ok, Jodee...just set a pot of that soup in front of me and I'll be forever grateful. :)

    Jim

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    1. Oh you have no idea!! I would have loved to take a gallon home to freeze for several more meals!!

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  13. Add our names to the list of those who love small towns. It's a good practice to cultivate noticing the kindnesses of strangers. You do it well. :-)

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    1. Thanks :-) I thanked the guy at the 76 gas station in Coos Bay for the bathroom being so immaculate. I thought he was going to cry, or fall over from shock. It feels good on both sides.

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  14. So nice to find a friendly town, especially with good food and dog friendly.

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    1. Indeed! We want to come back and spend a month next time.

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