Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gold Beach – II

We have been here two weeks. Perhaps in another day or so we will have had our fill of this section of the Oregon coast and travel an hour north. Today we went south towards Brookings to check out a place we had missed on all our other trips through here. It’s call Secret Cove. It’s no secret, but the road signage calls it something else and you can not see anything of it from 101. If you follow the trail about a half a mile you start to get glimpses of the coast line. Go a little father and you are on a narrow cape overlooking a secret cove. I say ‘a’ as there is more than one cove. We failed to puzzle out the path to the beach, so we will have to return and do it again.

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They call the center rock Whaleshead as it resembles a breaching whale. If only Alabama had some off shore rocks. If could figure out I do it, I would Photoshop a red rock Utah arch on an Oregon coast line picture.

After two days at Quosatana CG, we came back to the gravel bar on the Rouge – a great boon docking site.

Dorothy writes: This was a great day.  First the mouse in the house is no longer among the living.  You do not want a mouse in an RV for a couple of reason, one is that they chew on the wiring and secondly, they can carry a very bad virus, hantavirus, which you do not want. Leaving the traps set in case he/she had a partner.

We went on a 1.5 mile hike, half of it was downhill to the best scenic overlook on the Oregon coast and that is saying a lot.  It is part of the Samuel H. Boardman State Park and the views are absolutely spectacular.  Of course, the hike back to the car was uphill for 3/4 of a mile, but we survived. We also walked the Whaleshead beach .  The haystacks along the coast can't be beat and are worth the drive from Alabama.

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By this time it was lunchtime, so we headed to Brookings to once again have lunch at Pancho's Restaurant Y Cantina. This is the most reasonable place we have found to eat along the coast and the food is excellent.  We had fish tacos again which were almost as good as the ones we had in Baja a few years ago.

We returned to the Secret Cove area and found the path to the beach. It goes straight down. In 10 minutes you are at sea level. Dorothy wisely did not descend the rocks to the sand. I did and had trouble getting back up. Loose gravel on rock is no friend of old folks. Half way back up, I knew if my foot slipped I would go all the way back down and  something would break. Sobering and it was only 11am.

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The Secret Cove reminds both of us of Vietnam. No, Dorothy was not there, but when she saw the islands she said it looked like the ones she saw advertising a cruise there. The cove comes complete with a waterfall.

Catba_island_Haiphong_Vietnam (6)Islands in Haiphong Harbor

We are parked on the Rouge River in southern Oregon. I spent the last hour looking at an osprey and gull do endless circles in the sky seeing who could out soar the other one. A few minutes went by and the osprey tucked his wings and dove in the water. SPLASH. He missed. No fish that time. Then I watched two spaniels frolic in the water. The geese are just sitting there, they don’t do much. About every hour or so a jet boat goes by carrying tourists upstream or downstream. The sea breeze is just divine. The two weeks we have been here has been the best weather we have ever had on the coast. Don’t you feel sorry for us? Where will we go for sunset today?

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The bridge over the Rouge at Gold Beach. Most of the bridges on 101 are architectonically significant.

The prediction of fires in the three western states has been high all year. So far, the number of fires and area burned has been much less than the average for the last ten years. Other than a fire in Canada while we were in northern Wyoming, we have not seen any smoke.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gold Beach

We came here to attend a get-together with other Lazy Daze owners. It would have been less mileage for us to follow our usual route, but we are glad we came here first. They came, we visited, they left. We have no plans to leave. Our plans are to revisit every place we have been around here before, some new ones and do it very slowly.

Facts about the water flow on the Rouge. Winter, 8,000 CFS. Spring/Summer 2,500 CFS. Fall, 1,200 CFS. Flood, 200,000! No flood this year, very little snow. You can tell the water level is down some, but there is still a lot of water. There will be a test on this.

We are acclimating to the rhythm of low tides and sunsets. Which brings to mind something I read 30 years ago about a system programmer in Tracy Kidder’s book The Soul of a New Machine. Computers, now and then, perform operations in machine cycles. A cycle is a fixed amount of time. The trick is to do as much work as possible in a cycle - clever programmers find it both challenging and competitive. One of them after working nearly a year designing the machine instructions left a note on his desk. I have moved to farm in Vermont. I refuse to deal with any measure of time that is less than a season.

Tomorrow, we will walk on the beach, hike the coast trail or buy more salmon. Maybe one or all three. I think we will do the same thing the next day. I will end each day drinking either expensive whisky or cheap pilsner beer.

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This ship had a working life of 97 years – the longest for any registered vessel. She now sits 100 feet from where she was built. I did not work that long, but I sometimes feel like she looks.

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The Shape Of The Coast

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Out our back window, there is more than ducks, geese and wading birds

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Where the sea critters live. The sea critters at home.

Reading a Forest Service brochure to select a hiking trail, I find one that advises that it is steep and rugged and care should be taken when traveling. Since this trail is in a wilderness the use of wheeled vehicles is prohibited – non-motorized wheelchairs excepted.

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Hiking in an old growth forest – one the loggers missed with Douglas Firs. Which are not really firs. The species is also known simply as Doug-fir or as Douglas pine. Look at the ferns.

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Wildlife encountered on the trail

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The largest Myrtlewood tree in Oregon – measured by girth. They smell good like camphor.

Friday, July 18, 2014

On The Rouge

We are parked on the Rouge River. We were parked, for one night, 14 miles up Rouge in one of the nicest Forest Service campgrounds in the country. We had the same spot as we did in 2010. Half shaded in a stand of myrtlewood trees. [They smell like lilac] Water and dump. Quiet. Only $7.50 a night. Why would we move? Pick any of the following: Three bars of 3G vs Searching for Service. Close to the beach and town. Ten miles closer to the Lazy Daze gathering in Ophir. 74 degrees with a sea breeze coming right up the river. Our back window is 12 feet from the river. Free.

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Gold Beach, near the Oregon, California border. From here north to Bandon is the best coast line in the country.


Our spot on the Rouge River - Where are our yaks?

This is our fifth time to Oregon, our fourth to this area. I plan to reshoot a lot of places again and see if I have gotten any better with the camera.

Thursday – July 17 – It’s another clear day. The marine layer burned off early today. I should be taking pictures, but we are enjoying the social swim with fellow Lazy Daze people. It’s 1PM, the air temp is 80 and the sea breeze is 8-12 knots. Delightful! 

The weather forecast is for clear skies the next 10 days, so we plan to hang here. Enjoy the weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2014


$500 in gasoline will get you from Idaho to the coast of Oregon. We are a little short of the coast – about 2.5 hours away. We planed to be there Saturday, the 11th, but it will be a few more days. More on that later.

Catching up. We have been short hoping across Oregon the last week.

We left The Tetons Sunday and landed in a county park on the Snake River in American Falls, Idaho. Monday we over-nighted at Bruneau Dunes State Park. Tuesday it was a commercial RV park in Boise - it sucked, but we got our shopping done. Wednesday, an RV park near Burns, OR with hot springs. We soaked until we got sun burned.

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The hot springs included Momma and her baby ducks. Go Ducks.

Thursday, we did the carnivore thing in Silver Lake – our third time there. Lots of red meat. We over-nighted across the road from the restaurant. It’s a dead end road a little past the end of nowhere. We woke in the morning to the sounds of a troupe of coyotes welcoming the new day. The first thing I saw was the soft morning light illuminating the cedar tree just outside the window. It was the first one we have seen after crossing the the empty quarter of Oregon that has little more than sagebrush and basalt. We were right on the dividing line between the high desert and the forests of central Oregon. Long eared jack rabbits were cavorting all around us. After a hearty breakfast of eggs, grits and muffins we drove west on rural forests roads at 30 mph until I finished my second cup of Joe. Then I cranked up the speed to 45. One car passed us over the 50 miles.

13 Silver Lake 07Carnivore Heaven – 30 ounce steaks

Now the not so good news. For the last three days, the engine had been running rough, especially when under heavy load. I figured it was a plug wire or a cracked plug. I was kinda right. Five of the ten plugs/coils are bad and three others fail under load. No wonder our gas mileage and hill climbing ability have been suffering. Of course, these things only happen on weekends, so we get to stay in Ashland, Oregon for the weekend until the dealer can tackle it Monday. The serpentine belt and the front brakes needs replacing. Other than changing fluids, this is the first replacement we have had to do. With 72,000 miles, it does not seem premature, but it’s going to hurt the wallet. And we get to stay in a commercial campground for four days. Oh well, both vehicles need cleaning bad, so we can do that and get laundry done.

KoKo has new spark plugs and coils. We leave for the coast in the morning.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Along The Snake River

Rivers like the Platte, Arkansas, Canadian, Missouri and the Snake were the first highways in the west. I like to imagine how the first European explorers used them. The Snake starts in mountains of Yellowstone and snakes across Idaho into Oregon where it empties into the mighty Columbia. I86 follows the Snake. To me, it seems we cross the Snake everywhere we go out here. At least a dozen times today. I think it would be an adventure to do the length of the Snake in a jet boat. I have no idea if it’s even possible as there are so many dams. We have passed three reservoirs since we left Jackson where the Snake is dammed. We parked at one last night. It is a grand looking river today in the morning light. All of southern Idaho would be brown, but for the irrigation water the Snake provides. Imagine there would be no french fries at McDonald’s without the Snake.

Since I could not make a decision on a roof rack for the Rubicon, we had to leave the yaks at home. We figured no big deal since most everywhere we went last year there was no water – Oregon and Washington excepted. We did not know that there were so many rivers around Jackson. Besides the Snake, the Hoback and the Gros Ventre are fast flowing rivers.

We hope you enjoyed the Fourth and had a patriotic American drink like bourbon, the quintessential American drink.

Mike and Elizabeth, we tried to see an offbeat place but were shutout again. The Potato Museum in Blackfoot is open M-F and we were there on Sunday.

We are a little off the beaten path in the Bruneau Dunes. I really like the area.

Bruneau Dunes

You need the correct footwear to hike the dunes.


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Shopping in the big city of Boise tomorrow. It will be a long time until we see another city, Reno in September.

This is our fourth time in Idaho. The southern part of the state seems to have an above average of rednecks. And I mean really red, toothless inbreeds. We wanted to do some shopping in Boise and Dorothy picked an in-town RV park. That’s something we do every few years. This park is popular. Behind our parking place are some hedges/trees where a tent site is located. Late this afternoon, we watched two couples vacate the site making dozens of trips to put all of their belongings in an open truck bed. At 8 this evening another couple moved in, making dozens of trips carrying a futon, table, cardboard boxes, piles of clothes, bedding, etc. No tent. Both homeless we suppose. We are eager to get away in the morning. Into every life some rain must fall.


No matter where you enter Oregon, it looks different from any other state. We are the remote east central area. Few live here, fewer go here. It’s called the high desert from the eastern state line to a north/south line that would bisect Bend in the center of the state. US20 follows the Malhuer River towards the central mountains. It’s farming and cattle country. It’s also home to several outcroppings of minerals of interest to rock hounds. We saw some examples of obsidian last week from Glass Butte, so we plan to add that variation to our collection. 

Since we are now almost to the coast I better post this and start on Oregon.          

Friday, July 4, 2014

Here Looking At The Grand Tetons

Well, we look at them when it’s not raining. The day we arrived the weather was perfect. The next two days had more clouds than sun. The clouds extend out into the Pacific. And so it goes. Not all bad. Dorothy is content and we have decided to stay here through the Fourth. The forecast is clear skies all next week and for the wind to lay down. The campground is pleasant enough and strangely quiet. Not at all like a Parks campground. I am sure it will be busier in the coming days.

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We met some fine folks from Susanville, George and Linda. We enjoyed four evenings around their campfire solving world problems and enjoying the sunsets. We ate our first tri-tip beef that they cooked. Delightful. Also called bottom sirloin. Hope to see them again when head south on 395 in few months.


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Sunset at our campsite

I have determined my next wife will like the Dead and drink beer. The new Jeep came with Sirius so I like to listen to the Dead channel. Dorothy screams. And I have no one to toss back a few drafts with in the local saloons.

Dorothy writes:

Wednesday, June 25 - We arrived at Gros Ventre (pronounced gro vont) and have been very pleased with this CG.  It is not a typical national park cg.  There is good separation between the sites so you don't have that closed in feeling.  Two of the volunteers at the office are from Montgomery, so we had a nice chat. We aren't very far from Jackson, WY.  I was here with my parents in 1965 - it's changed a little.  We love the view of mountains from our back window. Moose sometimes walk into the CG between 5:30 - 6:00 am.

Thursday, June 26 - The weather was gray and overcast.  We drove to another CG just to see if we were interested in moving.  The Tetons disappeared in the clouds, so we explored Jackson and had lunch at Bon Appetit, a good Thai restaurant.  Something we tend to forget is that when you are in an expensive resort touristy town, the food will also be expensive!  We were able to sit outside for a little while before dinner.  Then we visited with our neighbors, George & Linda from CA, and had a very nice campfire conversation.  They were able to keep us up until 10:30.

Friday, June 27 - Again overcast with 75% chance of rain in the afternoon, so we drove to Lake Atherton.  It's a picturesque CG on the lake.  The road is rough, so we will probably continue to stay at Gros Ventre.  The lake was formed by a huge landslide in 1925.  They said that it is the largest landslide in the world.  We want to go back when the weather is clear because the scenery looks fantastic, even on a cloudy day.  The weather forecast was correct, so we have stayed inside all afternoon.  Tomorrow starts a clearing and warming pattern - yea!

George and Linda invited us to go with them and paddle their yaks on String Lake. Quite enjoyable until after lunch when breeze picked up to 20.

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We hiked the 3.2 mile RT to Tagget Lake. It did Dorothy in and I was not much better. Still a scenic lake. With a polarizing filter, I was able to get a good reflection.

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Not all the mosquitoes in Wyoming are this big, but some are.

In a recent post, I wrote about the increasing number of wilderness areas. In the Grand Teton newsletter, published by the Park Service, the lead “story” celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The story reveals that areas that are either proposed or recommended as wilderness areas receive the same protection as those areas that Congress has approved as wilderness areas. That’s getting the cart before the horse. So all an attorney for the Sierra Club needs to do is to get the Forest Service to undertake a study of tract of land they control and then propose it as a wilderness area. It can stay in that category until the end of time, fully protected, and Congress never needs to vote on it. Sweet, an area forever closed to all activity except hiking. I think accommodations should be made for the handicap. Dorothy suggests having SEALS take her into the wilderness areas via a sedan chair.


If I had a few million extra I would love to sue to overturn closing land without congressional approval. Then again the sedan chair might be fun.

Wednesday – July 2 – The last two days were glorious days weather wise. Today, we planned to photograph some colored hillsides. But at 8am the haze looked like we were in LA in all directions. It partially cleared in the afternoon. The haze is actually smoke from distant fires in Canada. That’s along way off.

Grump, grump. It has been quiet a week in the campground. Late this afternoon, a fiver moved in next to us with two Honda generators in the truck bed. They were cranked on arrival to run the ac. Now they are not loud and we can barely hear them inside. Still I hope eagles rip their eyeballs out. I guess they did not want to pay the $48 rate in the electric section. The government pays wind and solar farms so they will be on a par with other forms of electrical generation. How about paying us for the solar panels on our roof? We have gone over 90 days twice without hookups. It’s really no big deal for us.

We are seeing more 32-34 foot C’s built on the E450 chassis. The same one our 24-foot is built on. Our going down the road weight, GVWR, with full water and gas is 13,800. That’s just inside the 14,500 maximum. Add 8 feet and two slides and those suckers are overweight dry. Of course, that is not news for anything built in Elkhardt.

The Fourth – we celebrated by being lazy and eating another rack of ribs. Most of the smoke is gone, so we will try photography in the morning.

Next week, we cross Idaho and Oregon to get to the coast. There is a heat wave so will we not dally and get electricity each night for ac. Only one pleasure stop planned at the Cowboy Dinner Tree.