A lovely sunny day with seals and Pelicans

Trip Start Apr 18, 2007
Trip End Oct 16, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Sunday, June 17, 2007

It was sunny when we awoke and after a breakfast of bran we carried on south using the coastal route to the State Beaches, after only a few miles we found a road of shacks and RV parks - really just truck parks like a giant supermarket carpark. Awful.

But leaving them behind we came across this lookout point with some seal volunteers who had good telescopes through which you could see 100's of seals and sea-lions on a small offshore island protected by a set of rocks forming which formed a mini-harbour.

Apparently it is one of their favourite spots along the west coast - the California seal-lion spends winter off the California coast and then comes up here in the spring with their pups. More arrive all season until the place is packed - it's like a southern coast town for seal-lions. They don't even have to go far for food as the fish come in shore to feed.

Reluctantly we set off again and after a few ocean viewpoint stops (which were very windy) we arrived at Brandon - it is a lovely small seaport with a boardwalk and pier. Found an excellent "olde worlde" sweet shop (i.e. liquorice, jelly beans, stuff in jars) and spent more than we'd planned. Next door was a coffee shop where we got a good coffee and bagel and even managed to use a PC there to thank Luke for the customized Father's Day card.

We met a middle-aged chap in there with a torn yellow T-shirt who lives locally and was very chatty but also seemed reasonably intelligent - only "Chance" in the book. We don't get to speak many people so this was a nice meeting. Brandon is very nice but more of a one week "get-away-from-it-all" place.

We ended our day in Brookings at the bottom of Oregon in a motel overlooking the Pacific which is where I'm writing this now. The room faces west naturally enough but already the skies are blue and the day looks perfect.

We took a walk down to the cove at the end of the motel grounds and found a difficult steep path onto the shore. MJ scampered down like a gazelle while Chrissy took FOREVER. there were loads of gulls on the rocks and then as we headed round a bluff at the end of the cove we found another cove with more gulls but also Pelicans. We didn't have a camera so we'll have to go back tomorrow.

Interesting fact is that it is still mid-60s but in the sun seems very warm. Drive 30-40 miles inland over the coastal mountains and it seems from the weather channel that it's in the 90s.

Another interesting fact is that in Oregon you can't pump your own gas....albeit that from interrogating the tooth-less tramp who did pump it they don't train the attendants at all!! He does exactly what any motorist does for himself everywhere else on the globe. It can only be a scheme by the Oregon authorities to provide employment for their tramps and deadbeats. The gas costs no more than elsewhere in the country - weird.

Excellent meal across the road in what looked like a downbeat diner - they seem to not bother too much about décor here - once built they never refurb.....bit like we can get with our own houses I guess.

Update on pumping gas - found this on Wikipedia - seems like it dates from the 40s

Minimum service vs. full service  

All stations in New Jersey and Oregon, however, are mini service; attendants are required to pump gas because customers are barred by statutes in both states from pumping their own gas. Both states prohibited self service in the 1940s due to fears that foolish customers would handle gasoline improperly. Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality has also ordered a ban on self-service gasoline due to inexperienced pumpers being a significant source of groundwater and air pollution. Oregon's state fire marshal has also ordered a ban on self-service gasoline. Today, these states enforce the law because of the rapid increase of drive-offs, where people fill up their car and drive away without paying for gas. In 1982, Oregon voters rejected a ballot measure sponsored by the service station owners, which would have legalized self-service gas.

There is a widespread belief that mini-serve is more expensive. However, a comparison between gas prices in Portland, Oregon and its suburb of Vancouver, Washington show prices at mini-serve stations in Oregon are on average 3 to 10 cents cheaper than their self-service counterparts in Washington, suggesting the net effect of adding attendants to the price may be small or non-existent. This comparison may be skewed by the difference in state gasoline taxes between Oregon and Washington. Likewise, New Jersey almost always has cheaper gas than its neighbors New York and Pennsylvania; such a difference could be explained by the presence of six refineries that produce 50,000 barrels per day or more of refined petroleum products, or more likely the state's low gas tax, the third lowest in the country behind Alaska and Georgia, at just 14.50 cents per gallon.[1]
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