Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Final Days in Oregon - Until Next Time!

 June 26 - 28, 2023
Brookings, Oregon

Hwy 101 moves away from the coast for about 2/3 of our Monday drive, through lots and lots of green. We get back to the water at Port Orford, some of the prettiest section of the Pacific with beautiful haystacks and deep, long beaches all the way to Brookings. There was a time when my BFF and I both considered retiring to Brookings - wish we'd bought property then! 

Driftwood RV Park is another new park for us - we've never stayed at the same park twice in Brookings - and still isn't "the one" we're looking for. There's a couple more so we'll keep trying. 50 amp FHUs on asphalt and gravel, not a blade of grass in sight. Close to town and the harbor, it's okay.

On my short list of things to do during our three-day stay is Fat Irish Pub. It's one of my favorite eateries in Oregon, with lots of tasty options. Not wasting any time, we enjoy late lunch as soon as we're set up. 

From their website, it's a small venue with a nice patio.

Tuesday's sunshine shows up late in the day so we get the Jeep and Tessa both washed before a quick grocery and lunch stop in town. It doesn't have everything, but Brookings always feels comfortable and familiar.

Low clouds move in and out all day.

Like much of the Oregon Coast, the combination of beautiful forests and stunning beaches make for great day trips. Carpenterville Highway and the Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor is a perfect day trip loop north of Brookings. It's one we've done before so we know we'll love it!

We have the dappled road to ourselves.

Lots of long distance views at the top.

We return to the water at Pistol River Beach.

Surfer/paddleboarders on the low waves.

Caught one! 
The sound and the smells - Tessa knows where we're going!

I'm a big fan of nature as art.

Dozens of seastacks.

There she goes!

Here she comes!

Zoomie circles.

I love this 13-year-old puppy!

A lone little person gives perspective for the ginormous rock formation.

The Pistol River enters the ocean.
Lots of pull-outs, view points, and trailheads offer peeks of the coast.

Trillium surrounds an aging table.

Arch Rock
Thomas Creek Bridge - the tallest bridge in Oregon at 345 feet.

A glimpse of Whaleshead around the corner.

Rainbow Rock with the marine layer coming back in.

Our time in Oregon always goes too fast, and with this year's early return to Arizona, it's even quicker. Hoping next year we can spend a couple months! While we're leaving Oregon on Thursday we still have more time on the beach - yay!!

Oliver meets some fun fish.

M & M climb a Daddy tree!

Penelope and Reese get a sister hug.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Time on the Bays

 June 19 - 25, 2023
Winchester Bay, Oregon

We never planned it this way, but we've come to the Pacific Coast every two years since we went fulltime in 2015. Every trip I've driven north on Hwy 101 with a few short mileage exceptions to get service done to the south of our stop. This is the first year I've made the drive going south. Same highway but on the ocean side. In some places, the steep-drop-off side. I've been wondering how I'd "do" on this drive.

Although it's raining off and on, it's a lovely 78 mile drive. No issues, no fear, guard rails are my friend, and there are even better views :-)) 

Our GPS spends half the trip trying to get me to turn around which is weird, but I know there's no reason we can't stay on Hwy 101 all the way to Winchester Bay because I've driven it several times. When we get to the tunnel before the Sea Lion Caves I get a warning - even though we have a good two-feet clearance to spare. Of course we make it through without issue, and the GPS immediately stops trying to turn us around. Makes for a nicer second half of the trip.

My initial impression of Winchester Bay RV Resort was that it was "too groomed", but this is our third stay and it's become a favorite. Level asphalt sites with lots of green grass space. 50 amp FHUs with picnic table and fire ring.

Another pretty water front site - I love these front yards!

Our new routine has become groceries and laundry on our first full day at each stop. No access to our onboard washer and dryer means using the park laundries. Not cheap, and not as convenient, but also not a problem. 

While the town of Coos Bay has no appeal for us, the surrounding natural beauty is worth a day trip south on Hwy 101. We take our time getting out the door, and it's well after noon when we turn on to Cape Arago Hwy. This area hosts a couple state parks, a lighthouse, botanical garden, old growth pine and hardwood forest, sea lion island, large swimming bay, basalt reef, and exceptional rocky coast line. The road ends in a small loop, and then you get to see it all again from the other direction! Wonderful :-)

Cape Arago Lighthouse

Azaleas and rhodies are at the end of their blooms, but there are still many stunning bushes throughout the park.

They've done a wonderful job of combining formal gardens and wild growth surrounded by an old growth forest of cedar, pine and hardwoods. 

One of the more unique treasures is this Japanese Plume Cedar. It smells like my grandmother's hope chest!

Mom's favorites - Fushia

Wonderful variety in the rose garden. It smells so good!

From the weird to the fun to the ginormous. 

The Japanese garden features a pretty pond. 

Champagne Rhodies - luscious! 

Large pelicans drop in and launch out and jump across the small waves at Sunset Bay.
A couple tall rocks are prime sunning spots.

On the other side of Sunset Beach several hardy bathers play in the water and sand. Way too cold for me!

Sea Lion Island - lots of singing today.

Simpson Reef

Lots of great splash rocks.

When we get home the floor in the kitchen (our much smaller kitchen with the slide in) is wet. Bill turns off the ice maker water supply that doesn't work anyway, and luckily after a few more dribbles there's no more water. Just add it to the list <sigh>.

Thursday we've set aside to visit with dear friends Pat and Jen who live nearby. They make the drive to meet us for lunch. Unfortunately our fav place is closed so we go to the backup next door which is fine. We love getting caught up with these two (went to high school with Pat, and he's also brother to our two pals in Tombstone). Time goes by too fast, and before we know it we're making plans to get together again next year. Maybe they'll finally come to Arizona <hint, hint>.

High cold wind and bright sunshine, but we get proof we were together again!

While we planned to see Pat and Jen, we get a surprise meet-up with another couple who are in the area for their summer travels. Dorothy and I worked together a million years ago, and we met up with she and hubby, Lee, here on the coast in 2017. This year they happen to be going north this week, so our paths cross once again. I love these serendipitous opportunities :-)

Lee, Dorothy, Jodee and Bill in Florence.
Although our sunshine has abandoned us for the day, it's still fun to check out some of the Oregon Dunes area. Reminds me of fun times in my younger years playing in the dunes of SoCal. 

A much colder Friday morning. 

The Scotch Broom is so thick on the low dunes it affects my breathing - nasty stuff.

Much nicer when it's just dune grass.

There's always "the hill" where ATVs play but I'm bummed to find no one at this one today.

Like the clouds were never here, Saturday morning is bright and sunny again. All the ATV-packed campgrounds are packed so I'm sure it's going to be busy and loud around home so we're off to explore the Smith River. We end up following the road until it becomes a small track through the forest (it's still called Hwy 48 but is the width of the Jeep). Over the mountain, through the Suislaw National Forest and back to Florence for last lunch. Zero people :-)

We make a quick stop at the Umqua River Lighthouse, still in service overlooking the dunes.

All the structures along the river are abandoned or look to be soon. The old barns add great character.

A recent rock slide leaves a large scar along the road.

Moving away from the river the road narrows and the pavement ends. 

The higher we climb the more the forest tightens around us. Bill is able to pull up enough map to see it will eventually end up in Mapleton so we continue on.

Cue the dinosaurs......

I'm very glad we meet no one else on this section, in either direction. 

We were very disappointed when the Maple Street Grille in Florence closed a few years ago, so I was excited to learn they had moved to downtown under a different name. Our meals were just as delicious as we remembered.

Pearls of wisdom from the sidewalk.

A lazy Sunday with intermittent sun wraps up our lovely week at Winchester Bay. We'll be back next year! Monday we move on to our last Oregon stop for the year.

Cuteness in curls - Henry is a happy boy!

Who is this big kid? Our handsome Ezra is growing up so fast.

Elliott loves the new kitty.

Penelope and big sister Reese enjoying some pretty petals.