Friday, May 31, 2013

The sun is finally coming out in Florence, Oregon and we are getting ready to leave.

During our stay in Florence, I was able to become sponsored into a wonderful and charitable organization called the Elks, had a visit with grandson, eat tons of fresh fish and lost 14 pounds...we should stay! Not really, gotta go to Coburg to the Monaco repair shop to have a few things taken care of then to Portland for some medical updating but we are planning on coming back next year for the "Roady Days".

As much as would love to soak up some much needed sunshine I really should go out on a drive. I must say that the RV parks where we are staying (Elks) is so peaceful, clean and well managed by the host and co-host that we hope we will see them here next year.

Anyone who views this blog is being subjected to my close-up practice...ha ha. I'll keep working on it with some of the lenses that I now have.

Ok, off I go along the Siuslaw River and the first thing I photograph is a wonderful old (I mean really old...1914) railway swing bridge about six miles from the ocean  in the two building town of Cushman. 
This swing-bridge is one of six that has documented on the Siuslaw.

It's great that someone has taken the time to document all of America's bridge structures and he states that some are still being used, as the Cushman bridge is, while others have been decommissioned. You can usually tell which ones are no longer in use because they will leave them in the open position for river traffic.

Some of the old docks along the Siuslaw River in Cushman.

The scotch broom plant blooms all up and down the river.

This is typical of a lot of the houses along the river. I suspect that flooding is not an issue because many homes were lower to the water and at least 50 years old.

I realize California has a very good "California cows" commercial that show how pampered their cattle are but these guys look pretty pampered to me too, eating green grass and flowers to boot?

Well, if you don't like or eat beef there is always deer meat.

Besides green hills and trees there are plenty of "purple foxglove" to greet explorers. 

I had driven out to Mapleton, Oregon and didn't wish to drive back on the same road. About ten miles on the south side of the Siuslaw was an old rusty sign that stated Florence was just 19 miles down this single lane road. Probably not my best decision being by myself safety wise, but with some nervousness, I made it back to town. I kept thinking I'd run into a marijuana farm with a guy not willing to believe that I was "just out driving"!

As I got closer to civilization there were some "drop dead" gorgeous farms.

Back in Florence at high tide, it is really a beautiful port. The pilings in the lower portion of the photo are the only remains of the south side of a ferry landing that was used until  highway 101 bridge was built in 1936.
We have to say goodbye to Florence in three days but will definitely be back as soon as possible.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Idaho City on a whirlwind tour.

I saw a house in an area that we'd been thinking about in southern Idaho, so I just had to look at it. "Donna... do you feel like a 1200 mile trip in 36 hours?" "I wouldn't expect any less of you honey...let's go!" So off we went from Florence, Oregon to Idaho City, Idaho but unfortunately we found out this isn't the area we should be looking at so I can quit getting property updates from there. The trip was not a total loss, we had some fun looking at new scenery. 

Donna and I are like two kids on Halloween with a full bag of candy whenever we find birds of prey...but especially our nations symbol of power, the American Bald Eagle. We saw no less than ten eagles like this family with two immature juveniles, not to mention the dozens of hawks and falcons.

We left Florence about 11:00am and got to Boise about 10:30pm on a Saturday Memorial weekend night, with no reservation...great planning on my part. We got the  second to last "Motel 6" room near the airport. It has been about 30 years since I last stayed at Motel 6...hey, what happened to the bed vibrator that you put quarts in. 
Anywho...we started our trip in the morning heading up highway 21 and this is our first stop, the historic 1909 Diversion Dam on the Boise River.

This diversion dam provides irrigation and drinking water to Boise, Idaho area.

Boy, I'd sure like to have my fly rod and an Idaho fishing license about now.

There is so much to see I only wish I had time to do it.

This is the Lucky Peak Dam 

Below the Lucky Peak Dam is a recreational area.

Bridge? What is my fascination with bridges...same as birds of prey I guess.

While driving up the canyon I noticed a pair geese sitting together right next to the road, one looked like it had been hit by a car (because it had its head down and sitting very still).  When I walked back to photo of the goose standing by its dead mate, I find she, or he, was just faking it because the family were all swimming on the river.  Actually, I guess the goose that I thought had been hit was hiding its head in their feathers and most likely tending to her brood under wing

Wow...10 miles from Riley, Oregon (yes the town was named after our 
grandson, LOL)  we ran into a storm that both my boys would love to see. If I had more time I would of sat there and waited for this monster to go over the top of me, but alas, I have a home to get to!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rainy week on the Oregon coast

 After our grandson left and I was sponsored into the Elks organization, Donna and I sat around looking at the low clouds and rainy weather with no relief in sight. We read about a couple of lighthouses that we haven't seen up north by 
Newport, Oregon so off we go on another adventure, rain or shine.

It's bad enough having two foo foo dogs, but dressing them in raincoats...really? I'll leave that to Donna because when I take out our dogs, they wear the same thing as their long lost cousin...the wolf.

I have a thing with bridges, if you hadn't noticed. This older railway bridge is on the North Fork of the Siuslaw River.

Near the RV park where we are staying is the Darlingtonia pasture of
these amazing insects eating plants.

Here are the specifics on a very old plant life.

Rock Creek is one of the many clear creeks that flow into the Pacific Ocean, 
north of Florence which is surrounded by a wet and dark rainforest .

Within this wet forest we found a "pine tree lappet moth caterpillar" having lunch.

Cooks Chasm on Point Perpetua displays how the ocean waves create cracks in the sea caves to form a blow hole which sprays during high tides or storms.

Yes, I like I have to say that every time? This bridge spans the Yaquina River in Newport, Oregon. As you might expect, it was a dark, drizzly and wet day.

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse located just past the Yaquina bridge is the second-oldest
standing lighthouse on the Oregon coast. It was only in service 3 years 1871-1874, and then replaced by the brighter Yaquina Head Lighthouse 3 miles north.

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast, is awesome. About a 1/2 mile before the lighthouse is the Yaquina Interpretive Center, that has an abundant amount of information and history.

Hard to see in the photo are "Common Murre's" that have nested on the this rock right off the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

With binoculars or 300mm camera lens we can see the estimated 25,000 Common Murre that nest along side some Double-Crested and Pelagic Cormorants, Puffin and Western Gulls.

Based on internet reports... rather than going to the Aquarium in Newport, we decided to go to the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Wow, never saw the skull of a walrus, nor felt the smoothness of it's ivory tusks until now. 

The marine center also had this wonderful skull from a female Orca who's body washed ashore a few years ago on a nearby beach.

What marine research center would be complete without a "touch pool". The Hatfield Research Center had many hands-on projects, informational booths and touch PC tables that allow you to see how they can produce electricity from waves or the constant oxygen depletion problems effecting the Oregon coast and many other things.

EDGAR, the bald eagle!!!! We have been searching for Edgar since we last saw him a year ago in Klamath, Oregon. Stopped at a vista point to let the dogs out and all of a sudden Edgar comes flying above us looking like he was hungry. Donna had the feeling that we should put the dogs back in the car and head home!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Grandsons visit

Riley's mom was taking a cruise with her mom and Jason was going to move this week from an apartment to a house, so Granny and Opa got to visit with our grandson for seven days.

First day before dad left was to try a little fishing from a dock on the Siuslaw River right at the mouth before it dumps into the ocean.

A  4 year old is just too young for the patients it takes to fish, come to think about neither are 64 year olds. :-)

While Jason may of had the patients to fish he certainly didn't have any luck today.

Shortly after this photo was taken the rain started coming in horizontally, powered by 40 mph winds. Riley and I hightailed it to the car to play PC games.

 Dad left us the little bundle of joy and off we went looking for things to do. Here we are at the Sea Lions Caves a few miles north of Florence but just like fishing, we struck out. It seems during the spring and summer the sea lions are out to sea all day.

Next day it warmed up and we headed for the ocean sand dunes. Besides playing with his sand toys and monster trucks, bubbles were next.

The brisk ocean breeze kept the bubbles in the air for quite a long time.

Even a 4 year old can enjoy the pleasant bloom from the scotch broom plant.

There were miles of small trails all made by dune buggy enthusiasts but my only concern in hiking them too much was encountering a speedy sand-rail but luckily I never heard one and they are extremely loud which helped us stay safe.

After a days outing, you can count on a quiet ride home because within a mile or so Riley would be asleep in his car seat.

This was a busy time for the Elks in Florence because of the Rhody Days Festival that takes place all week long. 

So while Opa was off rubbing chickens for the Elks Barbecue with Harry and Ed,   Riley had to stay around the campground with Donna. (honest, we did laundry and that is a clean shirt) (note from Granny-this is Opas sense of style-- scary).

If it was cold or too breezy Riley had no problem using grannies iPad to play games on.

So when Opa wasn't helping with the Elks dinner then Granny worked on the float that the Elks build every year for the parade on Sunday. We brought Granny down and got a tour of the work area.

Here is Granny tying branches onto the side of the the rain of course.

The week long festival has car shows, RV show and motorcycle run. This car, owned by one of the Elks, cost nearly $200K to build...the guy must really like his car.

All of old town Florence was filled with bikes...I miss mine :-(

Sunday was parade day. Riley was looking so forward to this day all week. Opa put out chairs at 6 am so we'd have a good spot to watch.

This is the float Granny worked on and without being biased in anyway we thought the Elks float was the best one.

The lighting was bad so it's a little hard to see but the float had mechanical seals, a pool with a fountain, orca, pine tree and a large mounted elk and several carved animals...good job Granny!

Riley loved all the school bands, floats and horses but especially the candy and beads thrown to him.

Just like this float says...we will be back next year too.

Our week with Riley has ended and in the morning Granny took Riley back up to Portland. It is eerily quiet now, which is not to say that is a bad thing at all, but I already miss our energetic grandson.