Day Twelve

June 10, 2007

Waldport, OR to Roseburg, OR

The restaurant/bar adjacent to the motel offered an omelette station on Sunday mornings, but we decided we weren't going to give these people another dime after our lousy stay... Unless we bitched enough that they comped us for breakfast. We tried, but no such luck, although we did get a sincere apology.

We headed back to U.S. 101 and continued south in the wet morning. We were hungry, but our sour motel experience led us to pass quickly through Waldport without stopping.

                   

The next town was Yachats, and we enjoyed breakfast at The Landmark.

       

Our table overlooked the ocean (of course -- the sign said, "An ocean view from every table") and the Yachats River estuary although fog and mist obscured our views. The walls featured photos and posters of musicians who had played the adjoining bar. I hoped to find a picture of one of my West Coast heroes like Dave Alvin or Tom Russell but I didn't.

       

U.S. 101 took us to several scenic overlooks and state parks. The town in the background is Yachats.

U.S. 101 features many visually appealing concrete bridges.

More ocean views...

       

This is Haceda Head Lighthouse. We passed several other lighthouses, but we didn't see them. The second picture was taken a few hours after the first.

       

Just north of Sea Lion Caves, we saw a few dozen sea lions on the rocks below.

       

There were also birds resting in their nests on the rocks.

       

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) was in bloom.

       

Just north of Florence, we saw the sign for C & M Stables, one of the horseback riding places I had looked up online before we left Illinois. As my wife filled out the requisite forms, I mentioned that she had been rained out of a couple of rides. "We're used to rain here. We ride all the time," the man said. My wife bought the silliest item in the gift shop: a small, stuffed horse purse compete with zipper pocket and strap. I can't imagine when she would ever actually use it.

While she had "the experience of a lifetime" (according to the Web site) riding a horse on the beach for two hours, I doubled back north to Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park to hike. Naturally, I had to check out the warning signs first. I wondered whether the tsunami signs had always been along the Oregon coast, or if they had been erected amidst the hysteria following the massive Asian tsunami of 2004

       

Hiking on sand usually sucks, but the seashore was quite firm.These pictures were taken over the course of 90 minutes or so.

       

       

       

       

       

       

The tide was out, so I enjoyed photographing all sorts of marine life washed up on the beach. I also saw pieces of sand dollars, but none complete enough to be worth taking a picture. Don't ask me what any of this stuff is -- I don't even eat seafood, so I have no clue.

       

       

I was intrigued by the patterns in the sand surrounding the rocks washed up on the beach.

       

I saw a few birds eating a carcass that washed up on the shore. The two larger birds did all the eating while a smaller bird watched. When a sneaker wave (one that is unexpectedly strong) came in and washed over the carcass, the bigger birds flew away and the patient, little bird got his turn.

       

       

I found evidence of children. This castle was cleverly designed with a channel to feed the moat at high tide.

I love it when a picture can reconstruct a story. I imagined a little girl collecting all these shells, and then forgetting them along with her hat when it was time to go home.

I still had some time to kill, so I visited the Sea Lion Caves gift shop on the way back to C & M Stables. The Sea Lion Caves tour was highly recommended by a friend who doesn't normally enjoy tourist attractions, but we didn't have time. The gift shop, however, didn't appeal to me at all I walked out disappointed ten minutes later. It was already late afternoon, and we had covered only 30 miles. I drove back to the stables and fell asleep in the parking lot for about 20 minutes. My wife returned late, but she had a good time. She said the horses were afraid to get their feet wet and jumped sideways whenever the tide came in.

We drove into Florence and ate a late lunch at Dairy Queen. After we returned home,I found a place where we should have gone in Florence, an art gallery where a man who shares my name sells walking sticks. Anyway, since Dairy Queen was right next to this old bridge, I took some pictures.

       

In Reedsport, we headed inland on OR 38 to Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area. We saw several female Roosevelt elk grazing along with one male (on the right below).

       

After a few photos, we drove back to U.S. 101 and continued south. I had really wanted to see Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, but we never saw a good viewpoint and didn't want to take the time to look for one. I guess we'll have to go back someday. We drove through a few towns and finally, just past Bandon, we returned to the coast on Beach Loop Road. An Oregonian online acquaintance had mentioned that this was where he took visitors who wanted to see the coast, and we weren't disappointed. The northernmost overlook was an especially good place for photography, and I was tempted to wait another hour for the sunset.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

With plans to drive back inland and fresh memories of last night's white-knuckled drive over the mountains, I decided against waiting around. We drove south for another eight miles to collect Curry County, and then we backtracked to Bandon and took OR 42S to Coquille where it joined regular OR 42. We drove back to the I-5 corridor on OR 42, following an ass-hauling trucker who was taking 30-mph curves at 50+ mph. To make his performance even more impressive, he was pulling two trailers! I could barely keep up with him in the fairly nimble Mazda 6.

In Roseburg, we paid too much for a night at the Travelodge. It was 11 PM and I just didn't feel like shopping around. I asked the clerk about restaurants, and he oddly didn't mention the 24-hour Denny's right across the street. Instead he talked about places at the next exit that were "probably closed" by now. We were too tired to care enough about our hunger to do anything about it anyway, so we skipped dinner. I told the clerk I intended to use the Internet, yet he put us in a room on the end that had a very weak wireless signal. I could barely download my e-mail because the connection kept losing contact. Since Internet connectivity was my justification for taking the overpriced room, I was especially irritated. I bitched aloud until my wife fell asleep, then to myself for another hour before I gave up and went to bed.

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