Along the Oregon Coast

Trip Start May 14, 2009
Trip End May 29, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

After a very peaceful night's sleep, we woke up to birds singing.  Or, rather... honking.  Canadian geese were very active in the river just outside our window.  After the initial moments to wake up, mom called me out to get pictures of the "ducks" (until we got a good look at them out of eyes not still blurred by sleep...) floating down the river.  The "ducks" turned out to be 16+ Canadian Geese that apparently would float down the river, take off, fly upriver, and repeat. Either that, or there were several flocks of about the same number of geese doing the same thing.

Then, as we were watching them, we heard voices in the next cabin over.  Two other ladies (we learned they were Paula and Mary) were out watching the wildlife and they saw an osprey in a tree across the river.  When I couldn't quite get a good look at it, they said "you need to come over here and see this osprey, really!!!"  And when I stepped outside to get my telephoto lens, Mary was out front and reiterated the invitation that had been given several times.

So, we joined them.  And sure enough, they had a great view of the osprey in the tree.

We visited for a little bit, discussing the motel, plans, how we'd each found the place and so on, before mom and I returned to our room.

One thing the Motel Del Rogue doesn't provide is any sort of breakfast, and you have to go a ways to get any (well, 5-10 miles I think).  So, our breakfast was granola and cereal.  Which we ate out on the balcony.

That's how we discovered the blue heron nest immediatly opposite *our* balcony.

I was inside for a minute when mom called me back out to see the osprey and the blue heron that were fighting.  Apparently, the osprey stole the blue heron's fish and he was not happy.  Ever heard a heron cuss?

Well, we found out part of why the heron was so fussy... when he flew back from leading the osprey away, he circled the big pine tree several times before coming in to land on one branch.  Since I was watching through the telephoto, I saw a second heron head lift up from a cluster of twigs and take something from the first heron.

It was a nest, so well disguised (at least to our eyes) that we would never have noticed it if not for watching him land.

So we were very well entertained by the wildlife, and some of the not-so-wild... namely, the cats that live at the Motel.  And the flowers.

We finally got out of there around 11:30, but I highly suspect we'll be back.

We stopped for a quick lunch at Carl's Jr in Grant's Pass before driving out to the coast.  It's a bit of a drive to get to Coos Bay from Grant's Pass, but it's a gorgeous one the entire way.  Mostly mountains (primarily volcanic in structure), absolutely COVERED in very thick forest of multiple types of evergreen trees in both light and dark green, and some deciduous trees as well.

We didn't get to the coast until 4, stopping for a rest stop and a few last minute groceries in one of the many little burgs along the way.  But there's not much between Grant's Pass and Coos Bay in the way of civilization.

Our drive up the coast was still very pretty, but we saw more lakes than we did the ocean.  We came on the coast at the southern end of the Oregon Sand Dunes.  Had we gotten there with more time as I'd originally intended to do (hah! I should have known better...), we would have turned just south to go to Shore Acres.  But, we didn't have time.  So... next time!

Our next stop was a brief one at the Umpqua River Lighthouse.  Though we'd gotten there much too late for any tours, you can still drive right up next to it and get a good look at the lighthouse and the lens.

Then on to some souviner shopping at the Myrtlewood Factory just barely south of Florence.  It's a gift shop of almost entirely wood products, most of which is local myrtlewood, and all of which was absolutely gorgeous.  And reasonably priced, even.  We could have happily come home with half the store, and the owner was very friendly and helpful as well.

He recommended we get dinner at a small place in Florence called the "Seafood Station".  It's a converted gas station that he said has really good seafood.

What he didn't tell us was that it was decorated very cutely, or that the clam chowder would be the best I can remember having, or that the fried clam strips would be the best either of us could remember ever having.  Definitely worth a stop if you're running through Florence.

We barely had enough light left after that to make a brief stop on the beach at Heceta Beach, where I got to feel the famous Oregon sand.  Well, famous because of the Sand Dunes, anyway.  It is really, really soft sand, too.  The type that is very comfortable to walk on.  I can see why it's popular.

I also found a small twig from the manzanita bush, which for some reason has absolutely fascinated me this trip.  Probably because of its unusual red bark.  So, yes... I'll be coming back from the west coast with a stick again.  Only, this time it's about a foot long and the width of a pencil. :D

Our next and final stop for the night (until our hotel, that is) was at the Heceta Head Lighthouse.

As we approached, the sun was going down, though fog was also rolling in so there wasn't a sunset.  There was, however, a very neat effect of the beam of light from the lighthouse sweeping through the fog.  At the parking area for the lighthouse trail, you could see a very neat historic bridge (there are a lot of them along 101), some nice rock formations, and the lighthouse.  We spent a good while there watching the light (and trying for pictures, of course).

Then, it was finally on the last bit to Newport.  We picked this town to stay in primarily because relatives on my mom's side (on the great-great level) lived here.  I found what I thought would be a neat B&B / Hotel in Newport thanks to, yet again, Tripadvisor.  It's the Sylvia Beach Hotel, but I didn't tell my mom anything but that.

So she wasn't expecting the literary theme.  Our room, picked for her, was the Robert Louis Stevenson room.  Treasure Island was a favorite of hers as a kid, and one of mine as well.  Though there are only a few hints of the Treasure Island story in the room, it's very cute (though a touch small).  We spent a little bit exploring the hotel before heading to bed.

Tomorrow... our last day of touring.
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