Sunday, August 24, 2014

Central Oregon

We are in the Sisters/Bend/Redmond triangle. Mooch-docking at our RV’s godparents. [You mean your RV does not have godparents?] Their neighborhood is like a well groomed forest. It has to be otherwise it would burn up if a fire moved through. Some places have tornados, others hurricanes, it’s fires for the NW.

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Carolyn and Bill – KoKo’s god parents

More on Wilderness areas. Not only are vehicles not allowed in them, neither are mechanized tools, like chainsaws. A tool commonly used in fire-fighting. So fires that start in wilderness areas can spread to adjacent National Forests, National Parks or private property. But who cares about the latter.

Today we did a road trip. First to Deschutes Brewery where predictably I did not like the IPA and several others brews, but we both liked two high-end brews. Yes, we. Dorothy who has always detested beer, liked them as well as I did. They are priced like single malt whisky – almost a buck an ounce. So that’s two firsts, Dorothy liked a beer and I liked something brewed on a small scale.

12 - Oregon507That’s Bill and Carolyn in the background 

Lunch was delightful at McMenamins. Then we went for the hard stuff - tasting at Crater Lake. The vodka and gin were better than fine, but we really liked the Hazelnut infused vodka. {Infused has so much more class to it than flavored, don’t ya think]  We will go back to the brewery for a tour and also to the distillery for a re-sample and purchases.

We look forward to enjoying the better quality of fruit and vegetables normally available in the western states. Better produce and lower costs are the norm. Not this year. We have not seen corn for less than 50 cents, cantaloupe for under $3.25, avocadoes less than $1.25, etc. A far cry from corn or cantaloupe five for a dollar and avocadoes for 50 cents or less. It could be the drought. I talked with a fellow who distributed avocadoes world-wide and he said the California crop was damaged by a disease.

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All the “food” you see in the steak dinner is actually rocks. Lots of different kinds of minerals in Oregon. We have collected a few specimens for our collection.

We went back to Bend Distillery for more tasting yesterday with some chums. We had to be sure before we bought ya know. We came away with a bottle of Hazelnut Vodka and another bottle of Sweet Ginger Vodka. Our wine, liquor, beer locker is full. But, a large bottle of Not The Stoic (*) beer is cooling right now. One could spend several weeks here sampling all the brews.

We drove to Camp Sherman to jog our memories of the place. We camped there in 2010. I even managed a short Kayak ride on the Metolius River. It has got to be one of the best looking rivers in the world. It emerges crystal clear from a spring. Call it a river from a hole.

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This picture was taken a few yards from where the Metolius pops up. I took this in 2010. I thought I might improve on it today. Nope. Lots of clouds around Mt. Adams, the pine tree in the center of the picture almost blocks the peak and the leafless trees in the foreground are larger and in full leaf so the water is barely visible.


Here is the gorgeous river a few miles downstream. This is where I put in the kayak in 2010. What a ride and quick too.

Besides going to Camp Sherman for memories, I wanted to get on top of Green Ridge for a vista of the Sisters and adjacent mountains. But alas… No Green Ridge.


There are other more distant ways in, but holy moly was the dust thick. Rubi, just does not need to breath it.

Took a wrong turn on the way out and discovered several Forest Service CG’s on the Metolius that we did not know about. Two manned by hosts in Lazy Daze. We stopped and talked with one of them. On the way back, I recalled that Jim and Gayle had been hiking with them this spring.

Dorothy advises that we have spent 1320 nights in KoKo.


(*) Not The Stoic beer label advises that is a Belgian-Styled Quad of stirring depth and complexity. It is brewed with pomegranate molasses and aged in both oak wine barrels and oak rye whiskey barrels. It’s 12% by volume.

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Collect the whole set: Mary Ann, Dorothy Ann, and Debra – who should be a Debra Ann

We will be here for another week and there is plenty for us to do while we wait for Dorothy’s new eyeglasses to arrive. Until then.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Oregon Coast

No super moon for us, clouds in the eastern sky.

The other day an old friend called us while on a hike from the top of Mt. Charleston along the Cashe La Poudre River [had cell coverage there] to advise me to drink some IPA at the Deschutes Brewery in Bend – the best he had ever had. This is the same man who 30 years ago was always offering me a detestable Heineken when I wanted a light pale pilsner beer. Bend is the San Francisco of the High Desert. Lots of young folks on bikes moving from one craft brew house to another. If not beer, then latte. Gag. I am American, I drink Budweiser, Miller, PBR and Folgers - whatever is on sale. Now, single malt is whole ‘nother deal. Late breaking news, I learn that I can sample four brews for free and they have a bitterness scale so I can avoid the really nasty ones. So the worst that can happen is that I can judge for brews as undrinkable and it will not cost me a thing. That I can do.

We drove 13 miles up the Coos and then a tributary, the Milacoma River, towards the Golden and Silver Falls to find the park closed. A sign noting the closure a few miles down the river would have been a nice gesture. The road was narrow with a rock wall on one side and a no shoulder drop off on the other side. One that required close attention even in the Jeep.

Parked a few down from us is a tricked out Jeep, body lift, 35 tires, etc. with a big Rock Crawler decal on the windshield. Having WA plates I had to ask where he goes to crawl rocks. He said he doesn’t, he just liked the decal. He explained to me all the parts you can break rock crawling. I could not resist, I mentioned that we had been going to Moab for over 10 years and had not broken a thing. Well, the statement is literally true.

The population of Coos Bay/North Bend is about 25,000. Not small, not large. Like every town on the coast US101 runs right through the middle of town. Green gold, trees, are still an industry in Oregon, for both domestic use and export. The logging trucks have no other road to use but 101, so it’s normal, if a bit disconcerting, to see the trucks downtown.

Tuesday – August 12 – Over the last two days, Dorothy got the laundry done and I cooked the spaghetti so we left full hookups for another delightful Forest Service CG 8.5 miles north of Coos Bay and south of Reedsport. There are two Lazy Daze here that we met in Jackson, WY a month or so back. Overcast today, with a chance of rain tomorrow.

Wednesday – The forecast late last night was 50% chance of rain today. So dawn broke with blue skies and 77 degrees. And some think that someone can predict climate change. Horse hooey. We moved 20 miles north this morning. Almost to Florence. Parked in Lagoon CG. It’s part of a Forest Service complex we have stayed in three times before. We will stay here through the weekend and then leap north and inland to Sisters.

Thursday – Rain over night and cloudy today. The batteries never made it back to 100%. The first time this trip. We spent the middle of the day at the Florence library where they have flash fast internet. Watched Lone Survivor in the evening. Decent, I would have preferred more dialog and less fire fight, but that fighting was what that afternoon was all about. I would suggest the book over the movie. All were shot several times and remained in the fight. Real Rambo’s.

Friday – Still mostly overcast. Dorothy woke at 7, make pancakes at 9, and was back asleep at 9:30. She woke at 11:30. Spent the afternoon prowling logging trails looking for a different type of picture of one of the inland lakes.

Saturday – Another run to Fred Meyer’s, this time with a list. Refer is now chock full. Drove on the dunes for an hour in the afternoon. Something was different today. I could not get up the steeper dunes. Humidity? Noted some ATV’s were having a little trouble. Wondered how the heck the 2WD trucks got on the beach.

Sunday – Up early to make a four hour jump to Sisters. Totally different climate than the coast. Warm and dry. Wonderful accommodations and hosts.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bandon, Now Coos Bay


After two weeks of sun, we found fog. Entirely normal. It’s been cloudy here and with a marine layer that moves onshore in the mornings and late afternoons. And so it goes. This afternoon, we had mostly sun. So we drove KoKo to an overlook and backed in. Dorothy cooked a marvelous meal and we spent the afternoon looking out the back window at the scene below. Love the windows.


A Snowy Plover habitat is just out of the picture to the left. They are super protected, so beach walking is limited to one direction.

Not that I would want to see them, but I do wonder what becomes of the billions of pictures snapped on cell phones. Are they ever looked at? Are they left on the phones when a new model is purchased? I watched two girls with their phones held high over their heads taking pictures in all directions. They were turning around fast, so maybe it was on movie setting. Half of whatever they got was of the parking lot.

Coos Bay

After getting revved up about parking at the Mill Casino in Coos Bay, we decided to leave Bandon and enjoy a few days of pampering – pool, spa, laundry, wifi, prime rib, etc.  When we arrived we were startled to find it full up for a Monoco RV rally. I guess they are here before the FMCA event in Redmond next week. Bummer. Really nice RV park. Oh, the Monoco folks are not “our people”. Very well dressed, ear rings, etc. I guess when you pay $600,000 for an RV, you have a different life style.

Over at the Red Lion motel their sign welcomed the participants of Virtual Academy Conference.

For Dorothy’s birthday, we went to the prime rib buffet at the casino. It was so good, we had seconds on the beef. It was first Indian casino we have been to that did not have an Indian decor motif. Even tho, they had a smoke free slot area, we were not in the mood to play.

The sun popped out just after 10, so we put down our computers, got in the Jeep and drove to Cape Arago about 10 miles south of our campground. The sun was still out when we arrived, but after 20 minutes the marine layer rolled in. And so it goes. We did see hundreds of seals and sea lions through the mist. The skies were clear over North Bend.

Blue skies the next day so we went back. A splendid day.

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A lens filter makes the water look like the Maldives

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Two types of sea lions and two types of seals get along together here. The barking of the Stellar lions is constant. Sounds like a dog kennel with a sassy cat walking through.

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Cape Argo, just around the corner from Simpson Reef where the sea critters are. Note the “sideways” waves in the foreground.

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On the dunes before sunset

Dorothy’s account

Wednesday, July 30 - After leaving Gold Beach, we made the long drive to Cape Blanco State Park - 30 miles.  It's a very nice campground and would have considered saying a couple of days except they were hosting the Port Orford Country Music Festival on the road leading to the park.  It was going be chaotic, so we left the next morning.  The festival could have been fun and there was camping in the fields onsite, but it was sold out.

Thursday, July 31 - Another long driving day - 27 miles to Bandon, OR.  It has always been a favorite destination.  We found a great boon docking site at the Rocky Point County Boat Ramp along the Coquille River.  It is a very quite place and seems very safe.  Did a little driving around but not too much.

Friday, August 1 - Today was an extremely lazy day and it was overcast.  We drove to the town of Coquille, which is supposed to have some Victoria houses to see.  They had the houses, but they were in poor repair.  Then we went to Bandon and stopped at Gibson Graphics to get a couple of t-shirts.  We have always bought our t-shirts there when we come to Bandon - a tradition.

Saturday, August 2 - Another overcast today and we didn't do very much, but Sunday was suppose to be better.

Sunday, August 3 - After breakfast, we went drove Koko to China Creek and parked overlooking the beach.  As previously mentioned, the Oregon coast is fantastic.  We spent a pleasant six hours just enjoying looking at the beach.

Monday, August 4 - We headed to North Bend/Coos Bay to stay at The Mill Casino.  It sounded wonderful and cheap. When we arrived, we discovered that they were hosting a Monaco Motor Home Rally, so the place is packed until they leave on August 11. We spent a rather restless night in their overflow parking lot.

Tuesday, August 5 - We drove to Oregon National Sand Dunes Recreation Area and found a good campsite.  I had an early birthday dinner at the casino where they had a prime rib buffet.  It was so good, we both went back through the line for a second helping.  And since it was my birthday dinner, I had cherry cobbler and ice cream for dessert!

Wednesday, August 6 - Where did the time go, how did I become so old?!??!  It was foggy in the morning, but around 10:30 the sky cleared and we headed out to Simpson Point for some more beach sightseeing.  It was a surprise when we got to Shell Island and heard so much barking.  The Harbor Seals, California Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, and the Stellar Seal Lion "haul out" there:  meaning, they haul themselves onto the rocks and sun themselves. 


Sunday, August 10 – Moved 20 minutes away to the Mill Casino to do laundry and cook spaghetti. Still a week until we have an appointment, so we have a week to get all the way to Sisters.

Oregon is scenic. The median income is a little above the national average. Many of the homes are small and look sub-standard. Many built on the cheap. I expect to see weathered exteriors on the coast, but when you start with a sheet of exterior plywood, it’s not going to last long. Ditto Washington state.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Leaving Gold Beach

We moved north. Just a little. 27 miles on the first leg. We have almost three weeks before our next commitment, so we are not in a rush. We will miss and remember our two weeks on the Rouge. We have photographed and hiked every nook and cranny of this section of the coastline.

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The redwoods of northern California barely extend into southern Oregon where the Doug Firs take over and dominate for a short distance. The coast of southern Oregon is called the Banana Coast because it’s the warmest section for hundreds of miles – north or south. The dense forest of the extreme southern area gives way to totally different flora only 30 miles north. The tall trees are replaced by low growing, wind swept juniper like plants and ferns are replaced by sea grass.

Two more pictures from near Otter Point. The second one has some kind of zen thing going on with it. I rather like it.

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All the Oregon county sheriffs' with marine patrols are in Gold Beach this week for training. One motel has about forty jet boats in the parking lot. They go up the Rouge to learn how to maneuver in rapids and perform rescues. I would guess the engines are not over 250hp and they are a lot louder than the triple 400hp engines used on the sight-seeing jetboats. Not as well muffled I suppose and a lot slower.

Now for a review. Since we could not recall for sure which of the state capitals we visited this trip, I will list them here so maybe we can remember them.

01 - Arkansas02 Arkansas

03 - Kansas01 Kansas

08 - Denver01 Colorado

10 - Wyoming01 Wyoming

That leaves California and Arizona on our bucket list.

Lots of outrage about kids crossing the border, but where is the concern about Europeans' roaming around the country in Cruise America RV’s?

We spent one night at Cape Blanco SP where it’s always windy. Then moved a few miles father north to Bandon. We found a boon dock place on another river, the Coquille. It’s just a paved parking lot with a boat ramp, but we are backed up to the river, with two bars of coverage and two miles from town. We are the only ones here and it’s very quiet. It seems that every where we go this year we could enjoy the kayaks.

We checked out the campground at Floras Lake. A nice location, quite scenic, but the spaces in campground are close with no privacy and it was near full. A great location for hiking between the lake and the coast.

We have had two full overcast days, but the forecast is to be clear Sunday.