Monday, June 18, 2018

Florence, Oregon

On Friday we finished packing up the Duchess and left the Four Seasons RV Park around 10 AM. We only had 130 miles to travel today, so we were not in any rush to leave. We continued north up Highway 101 and were able to find a gas station with diesel that we were able to get and out easily. One bad thing about Highway 101 is that there are not any truck stops along the highway (at least we have not found any yet). We came across the bridge into Florence, Oregon and then located our next stop: Pacific Pines RV Park & Storage. This is a small park with about 50 sites that are close to one another. We have Site 45 which is a pull through site with full hookups.

Siuslaw River Bridge that leads into Florence.

Site 45 at Pacific Pines RV Park & Storage
After getting set up and eating lunch, we did some grocery shopping at the local Fred Meyer's Store which is located about 1/4 mile from our RV park. It was sunny but very windy.

On Saturday we went to Old Town Florence which is the oldest part of the town located on the harbor/port on the Siuslaw River. There is a short boardwalk along the river and buildings along Bay Street have been restored and now house retail shops and restaurants. There was a arts & craft fair going on along the boardwalk that we visited along with several shops along the street. We also ate lunch at Mo's but were disappointed in our crabs and clam chowder. 

Of course Connie had to go into this shop.

Boats in the harbor.

Boardwalk with arts & crafts tents.
We also stopped in a local thrift store and bought a couple of beer mugs along with finding some rain boots for Connie.

Connie's "new" boots

Sunday we took it easy: I watched the US Open golf tournament and then grilled a whole chicken on our gas grill.

Monday I spent some time on the phone with the manufacturer of our Oasis Hydronic Heating System. After doing some testing it was determined that the fuel pump for the diesel portion of the heating system needs to be replaced so they will ship us one that I will install next week.

In the afternoon we visited the Heceta Lighthouse which is located 10 miles north of Florence. We found out that lighthouses are located approximately 40 miles from each other along the Oregon coast and that each one has a unique lighting feature (it may be the color of the light or the seconds between pulses). This lighthouse was built during the 1890's along with lighthouse keeper's houses (the head lighthouse keeper got his own house while the two assistants shared a house) at a cost of $80,000. The lens in the lighthouse was lit by a kerosene wick from its founding until electricity reached this area in the 1930's. It is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the west coast.

Heceta Lighthouse

Connie on the 1/2 mile hike up to the lighthouse.
Only one of the two original lighthouse keepers houses remains: the other was sold for $10 once there was no need for it due to automation after the introduction of electricity.. The house was used as educational facility for a local college from the 1970's to the 1990's after which it was turned into a bed & breakfast by a couple from Portland who owned a restaurant there, Mike and Carol Korgan. Today is continues as a bed & breakfast run by their daughter, Michelle. We took a short tour of the downstairs portion of the house and learned about it's history. During World War II there was 75 soldiers stationed at this location to guard the coastline.

Heceta Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast
After finishing up at the lighthouse we drove about 1.5 miles north and took a short 1/2 mile hike along the Hobbit Trail The trail leads from the highway down to the beach. The trail is named for the Halflings of Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings. Along the beach we saw lots of crab shells. We looked this up once we got back to the park and found out these are the "molting" of female crabs this time of year: creating a new exoskeleton and leaving the old one.

Several trails start from the same parking area.

Crab exoskeletons along the beach.
We are going to Eugene, Oregon tomorrow to get our bedroom slide repaired. Hopefully the solution that Newmar diagnosed after our phone calls with them solves the problem.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Last days in Gold Beach

Wednesday morning we woke up to a light rain falling across the area. The rain continued most of the day so we stay inside. I got caught up on posting to the blog and Connie worked on a jigsaw puzzle she had gotten from Fran for Christmas.

This is the puzzle that Connie works on during rainy days.
Thursday we had better weather with a mostly sunny day. We drove south of Gold Beach to see the Kissing Rock and walk a portion of the actual Gold Beach. The wind was out of the north at about 20-25 mph so we had a short walk on the beach. The beach runs about 5 miles in length. The Kissing Rock looks more like a shark and the local say it got its name as a place teenagers would "make-out" rather than looking anything like a "kissing" rock.

Connie trying to get out of the wind behind some driftwood.

Kissing Rock??
After finishing our short walk on the beach we drove over to the Arch Rock Brewing Company. This is a small brewing company that has won several awards for their beers over the last couple of years. The brewery is located in a building that previously was a carpentry shop. When the owner of the shop retired he decided to open a brewery (something he had always wanted to do). He hired a young brew-master to run the brewery 5.5 years ago and it has done well. We sampled several of their beers and really liked the porter and the stout. We ended up filling our growler with the stout beer.


They currently carry a selection of 4 beers on tap.
In the afternoon Connie and I played 9 holes of golf at the Cedar Bend Golf Club which is located a few miles north of Gold Beach. It was a nice 9 hole course with two flags on each green and two sets of tees on each hole. We had great weather and an enjoyable round (we didn't keep score).

Great 9 hole course.

Connie putting out on the last hole.
Completing our round of golf we returned to the Duchess where we enjoyed a glass of the Arch Rock Stout Beer. We started the process of getting ready to leave tomorrow morning. We are headed north about 130 miles to Florence, Oregon for the next week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Trip up the Rogue River

On Tuesday we had reservations to take Jerry's Rogue River Jet Boat trip for 52 miles up the river along with a stop for lunch. We had to be a dock in Gold Beach at 8:30 AM so it was an early morning for us. We arrived at the ticket office on time and got our tickets. There were three boats going on the 104 mile trip ( 52 up and then back - they also have shorter trips of 32 and 40 miles upstream) and we ended up on the boat with Captain Jeff.

Jeff's grandfather had started the company back in 1959 and continued to run it until he sold in the early 1970's.  Jeff has piloted jet boats on these tours for 31 years and is the senior pilot in the company. He was born and raised in Gold Beach, so he seemed to know everyone along the river along with the family histories of all the properties along the river. Jerry's Rogue Jets are the only company that are allowed to take large jet boats up the river. There are a number of fishing guides that also take small boats up river for salmon and steelhead fishing.

Although the sun was shining at our campground, there was fog along the coast. It was quite chilly starting out and we were glad we had worn jackets on top of our layers of clothes.

Loading the boat. Connie and I were the last two on this one.

One of the other boats loading. The red boats are the ones that go on the 104 mile trip. Other boats are blue.
We first stopped under the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge which was completed in 1932 after two years of work. A few years ago it took the  6 years to do the restoration of the bridge.

One of the four towers that stand at each corner of the bridge.

Still some fog as we passed under the bridge.

We continued up river where we passed by our campground.

Four Seasons RV Park
We had a great ride up the river with several pauses along the way where Jerry gave us information and/or history of the buildings or locations along the river. We stopped at Agness for a bathroom break before entering the white water section of the river. 


Agness if located about 30 miles upstream from Gold Beach, so we went through about 20 miles of river that had sections of whitewater. We passed by a number of people fishing and a number of rafters coming downriver from Grant's Pass. Jeff told us that there are a limited number of rafters allowed each day on the river (about 120) with commercial companies using 60 permits and private individuals the other 60. Depending on river flow the rafting trip can take from 2 to 5 days.

One of the white water sections of the river.

Tree growing out of rock. A photo of this once graced the cover of National Geographic.

One of the many springs/creeks that flow into the river.

In one section with smooth water, Captain Jeff said we were going 60 mph. Along the river we saw several bald eagles, minx, harbor seals, sea lions and all kinds of ducks. One of the ducks flew along our boat at a speed of 50 mph for several hundred yards.

We stopped back in Agness for lunch before returning back to Gold Beach around 3:45 PM. It was a great trip and we would recommend it to anyone that is in the area (do the entire 104 mile trip - its worth the money).

After returning to the dock, we visited the Rogue River Museum that is located in the same area as the ticket office for the boat ride. We were able to pick up some fresh red snapper at the local grocery store that Connie cooked for our dinner.

Visiting Port Orford, Cape Blanco and a bike ride

Monday morning the skies cleared and we saw the sun. We decided to take a trip north of town to visit the most western spot in Oregon along with taking a bike ride.

We drove north along Highway 101 until we reach Port Orford where we stopped at the Visitor's Center located near Battle Rock. This is the site of one of the last battles between the Native Americans and the white settlers in Oregon. Most of the Native Americans were either killed or died by diseases introduced by the settlers for which they had no immunity. The remainder were relocated to reservations.


Battle Rock

From there we drove up to the Port Orford Heads State Park where a Coast Guard Lifeboat Station was built in 1934 and operated until it was destroyed by fire in 1970. There is still a couple of the houses used by the Coast Guard that house a museum. We hiked to both sides of the point located here and took a few pictures.

View from Port Orford Heads State Park

The was the launch site for the Coast Guard life boats. Destroyed by fire in 1970 only pilings remain.

One of the life boats used by the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard house now used by the museum.

We then traveled up to Cape Blanco State Park which is the most western point in Oregon. We first stopped at the Hughes House which was built in 1898 by a successful dairy farmer/rancher who owned about 2,000 acres in the area. The property was bought by the state in the 1970's to create a portion of the park. The ranch/dairy was run by descendants of the Hughes up until the sale to the state. The house has 7 bedrooms and is over 3,000 square feet under roof. It has a large kitchen and dining area that fed the family along with the ranch hands who worked the cattle.

The Hughes House

One of his sons was the first lighthouse keeper at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.  Proposed in 1864, it was the first lighthouse in the state outfitted with a first-order Fresnel lens in 1870.The first-order lens was replaced with a second-order lens in 1936. About 15 years ago the lighthouse was restored and remains in good shape today.


Cape Blanco Lighthouse

View from Lighthouse

After finishing up at the lighthouse, we drove over to the Elk River Fish Hatchery where we had lunch. There is a county road that is paved for about 11 miles from the hatchery up the river with very little traffic. We rode our bikes up and back after lunch for a total ride of about 22 miles. We had a great afternoon with sunshine and warm temperatures.


They raise Chinook salmon and steelhead at this hatchery.

View from bridge over Elk River

View along Elk River Road. Connie now has 213 miles on her Rad Power bike.

After loading the bikes into the Jeep, we headed back to our campground for the evening after a full day.

Visiting the coast south of Gold Beach

On Sunday we had better (no rain) weather and decided to visit a couple of the viewpoints along the coast south of town.

Our first stop was at the Cape Sebastian Scenic Corridor. The cape was named in honor of Saint Sebastian in 1603 by the Spanish navigator Sebastian Vizcaino. There is a 1.5 mile trail that takes you from the parking lot on the top of the cape to the beach located below. We walked most of the trail but did not make it all the way to the beach. This point is one of the many places along the coast for whale watching, but we did not see any. The whales pass the Oregon coast on their way north from March to early June.





After finishing our walk we drove down to the beach and took a couple of pictures there.



We then continued south for a few miles to see the Arch Rock (actually there a several arch rocks along this section of the coast). We pulled into the parking area and made the 1/2 mile walk down to the viewpoint to see the rock.  There is a brewery in the area that takes its name from this rock.




After finishing up at Arch Rock we made our way back to our campground for the evening.