The Coast is Not Clear, But I Am

In revisiting the small coastal towns along this route, I keep asking myself, “What exactly did I find to do in this town for a whole week last time?” I have to continually remind myself “You were working 8 hours a day, five days of that week.” Although I may have spent a week in that town, by the time I accounted for the work week plus drive time on the weekends, I really only had a day to explore. Since I have more time for exploring on this trip, I looked forward to prodding and probing deeper in each stop along the way while revisiting some of my favorite destinations. Only I am finding I may have allotted more time than I need.

One of my top three reasons for returning to the Oregon Coast....the Umpqua Lighthouse.

One of my top three reasons for returning to the Oregon Coast….the Umpqua Lighthouse.

Dare I exaggerate, this is one of the most beautiful man made works of art I have seen.

Dare I exaggerate, its lens is one of the most beautiful man made works of art I have seen.

I compare going up into the lens room and sticking my upper body into the rotating, candy-striped Fresnel Lens (as far as allowed) to be akin to being inside a life-size kaleidoscope.

I compare going up into the lens room and sticking my upper body into the rotating, candy-striped Fresnel Lens (as far as allowed) to be akin to being inside a life-size kaleidoscope.

It’s a good thing I have a few waypoints planned along the way to slow me down. Without the structure of the job to hold me down, I might otherwise be in Alaska by now without a map. I scheduled some meet-ups with friends, and I need to have some minor repairs done to the Winnie. After my major hitch overhaul, my tow lights still don’t work properly. And the Tracker has a chronic short in the battery terminal wiring that needs to be addressed.

The ruby glass is made by adding gold to the molten glass mixture

The ruby glass is made by adding gold to the molten glass mixture

The First Order Fresnel Lens has 22 bulls eyes which dictate the characteristic, or "signature," which is 2 white flashes and 1 red flash every 15 seconds as the lens rotates.  You can see the red and white "spotlights" reflecting in the trees in the background.

The First Order Fresnel Lens has 24 bulls eye panels which dictate the characteristic, or “signature,” 2 white flashes and 1 red flash every 15 seconds as the lens completes rotation every two minutes. You can see the red and white “spotlights” reflecting in the trees in the background as the light beams revolve.

I didn't get to see the lens at night last time, so I wanted to come back and see it after dark.  Even more spectacular!

I didn’t get to see the lens at night last time, so I wanted to come back and see it after dark. Even more spectacular!

Do you know which state has the most lighthouses?   Michigan!

Do you know which state has the most lighthouses? Michigan!

Got to admire the craftsmanship of this 1950's wetsuit...clearly made for both the right-handed as well as left-handed male.  ;-)

Got to admire the craftsmanship of this 1950’s wetsuit in the Umpqua Light Museum…clearly made for both the right-handed as well as left-handed male. ;-)

The little coastal towns are dripping with charm for the tourist-minded. Lots of curio shops. Picturesque marinas with charters for hire. And an abundance of local restaurants advertising “Readers Choice Winner! Best Fish & Chips on the Oregon Coast!” But I wasn’t much of a shopper even back in my “metropolitan-ite” days. Even less so now. And one can only stroll so many docks dreaming of a life at sea before they all start to look alike and the catchy boat names become redundant. That only leaves one thing….all the charming restaurants, which I can’t afford…physically even more than financially.

Umpqua is known for its "Triangle Oysters," farmed in the triangle formed by the jetty and the Umpqua River.  (Check out my new "lighthouse" wine glass!")

Umpqua is known for its “Triangle Oysters,” farmed in the triangle formed by the jetty and the Umpqua River. (Check out my new “lighthouse” wine glass!”)

Salmon Harbor Marina and RV Park makes a great place to stay long the coast if you want to see the lighthouse and sample the "aquaculture" of the oyster beds.  Only $15/nt.

Salmon Harbor Marina and RV Park makes a great place to stay long the coast if you want to see the lighthouse and sample the “aquaculture” of the oyster beds. Only $15/nt.

The lovely ambiance held me captive for four nights.

The lovely ambiance held me captive for four nights.

So I’ve temporarily reached my limit of coastal charm. I’ve had enough of the Salt Water Taffy shops, the smell of fried Fish & Chips coming from the ventilators, and tourist shops selling rainbow-colored windsocks and glittered jelly fish encapsulated in glass made in China. The breaking point for me is the Bandon Beach tee-shirt emblazoned with the slogan, “Classy, Sassy, and a little bit Smart Assy.”

Kite-flying, an art along the Oregon Coast.

Kite-flying, an art along the Oregon Coast.

Beautiful Siuslaw River Bridge as seen from historic downtown Florence, OR.

Beautiful Siuslaw River Bridge as seen from historic downtown Florence, OR.

One of five Oregon Bridges designed by Conde B McCullough as part of the Coastal Bridges Project built during the Great Depression as a part of Roosevelt's New Deal.

One of five Oregon Bridges designed by Conde B McCullough as part of the Coastal Bridges Project built during the Great Depression as a part of Roosevelt’s New Deal.

A "double bascule" drawbridge, it still functions today to allow fishing boats and sailboats with tall rigging to travel upriver.

A “double bascule” drawbridge, it still functions today to allow fishing boats and sailboats with tall rigging to travel upriver.

Even the moody, broody fog is starting to get to me. I’m cold, and I’m tired of wearing long pants and a jacket in the summertime. And I am in serious hiking withdrawal. If I continue on at this pace, I fear I won’t enjoy the second half of the summer, for which I have planned more of the same.

I need a temporary break from the coast. Time for me to retreat into the woods…before the coast is clear.

Stepping in the Same Ocean Twice

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” ~ Heraclitus

I love this quote. I often contemplate its meaning while standing on the banks of a river watching the water rush by, wondering where that water has come from and where it’s headed. Here this one instant and forever changed the next.

Now that I am back along the same Highway 101 Continue reading

Oregon: FINALLY!

It’s been a long time coming, and I am arriving about a month later than I had originally thought, but I finally crossed the state line into Oregon! With the exception of one 2-week trip home to Texas and 17 blissful days in Baja, I have been in California since January…longer than any state since I began full timing 3.5 years ago. Continue reading

Mendependence Day

Since Fort Bragg declared their independence from Independence Day by recognizing the 4th of July on the 2nd instead, that left the actual holiday as just another not-so-manic Monday.   The town of Fort Bragg was eerily quiet.   So I decided to take a drive and check out nearby Mendocino.  (Now, it’s going to take me yet another week to get that “Mendocino, Teeny-bopper” Sir Douglas Quintet song out of my head!)

Several of the locals told me, Continue reading

Festivities and Fog in Friendly Fort Bragg

I was supposed to be in Portland for the 4th of July.  I’d had reservations at the Columbia River RV Park alongside Jim and Gayle since last April.   But all that was not without a hitch….a broken hitch, that is.  My 3 week delay while waiting on frame rail extensions derailed that plan.

But as every fulltimer knows when facing a major holiday Continue reading

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off…

According to the great George Gershwin, some of my friends and followers may want to call it off after this post.  Seems when it comes to “oysters versus ersters,” people tend to disagree.  In fact, they fall into one extreme category or the other.  They either love ‘em, or they are repulsed by the very thought of ‘em.

I got a taste of my first oyster at Felix’s Oyster Bar in New Orleans on yet another family road-trip.  I have been slurping the slippery suckers straight out of their shell ever since.  Continue reading

Getting to the Point

I have a very definite purpose for visiting Point Reyes, and timing is everything. The Point Reyes Lighthouse is only open for visitation Friday through Monday. Though visiting on the weekend is the worst possible time as far as crowds, the weather seems perfect. If I wait until Monday, the last open day while I am here, I could risk being denied the opportunity to visit if the weather turns. The lighthouse sits prominently perched along the steep rocky shoreline known as the windiest point along the Pacific. If the wind gets high enough, they shut down the 300 stairs leading down to the lighthouse. Continue reading

Point & Shooting in Point Reyes

I arrive at the Olema Campground on the outskirts of Point Reyes National Seashore, just 40 miles north of San Francisco on the same day as my new Canon G7X camera arrives via FedEx from Canon Service Repair. It’s an eagerly anticipated arrival! I have been without a decent camera for five weeks now. Oh, sure, I had the trustworthy little $99 Canon ELPHie, Continue reading

Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair

In the days of my youth, cross-country roadtrips with my family typically coincided with my Dad having just bought a new car. Dad was a stylish man and always preferred the Chevrolet Impala. My first trip to California at four years old was in a 1957 golden Chevy Impala with the dramatic, sweeping “bat wings” on the tail. My second trip would be in the more conservative 1966 marina-blue Impala Sedan. It was the summer of 1967 Continue reading