Friday, May 31, 2013

Bandido and Dad's Great Adventure - Oregon Dunes NRA

Bandido here....  Dad told me that since I did such a good job in a cameo performance on a recent post, that I could write this one.  It took a lot of time to do this since my paws really don't fit dad's computer keyboard, and I don't write nearly as well as my Retama pal Pepperpuppy, but I was able to get the job done.

Dad told me that it was going to be just us guys today.  He said that the hike we would be doing might aggravate Mom's temperamental foot because the sand would be shifting (whatever that means), and that because 
Tequila tends to plop down whenever she is tired and not get up (what a girl), that we would have a boys-only adventure in the sand.  Before we left, 
Dad told me that the Oregon Dunes sand dunes are the tallest in North America.  I don't know what that means, but it sounds like fun.  The picture above shows me eagerly waiting for Dad to LET ME OUT OF THE CAR.

When Dad finally let me out of the car, we had to stop again within a minute so that Dad could read about the trail.  I can't read myself, but I really think reading is overrated.  Dad said we would be hiking the John Dellenback Dunes Trail. The trail has a person's name?  Why not the Cinnamon Norris Trail?  Or, the Pepperpuppy Moore Trail?  Or, the Fosterdog Follis Trail? Or, the Sami Norris Trail?  Or the Gabe n' Klick Trail?  Or the Bacon Griest Trail? Or the Maggie Watt Trail?  Or the Tequila Norris Trail?  OR, THE BANDIDO NORRIS TRAIL?  It is what it is (Brenda's slogan).  Time to get this show on the road.

The first challenge of the hike was a lo-o-o-o-ng wooden bridge.  I hate bridges.  At least you can't see through this one, like the glass one in 
Redding.  I can do this!

After the bridge, we entered the very green (everything has been green, lately), trail.  We were soon surrounded by a whole lotta pink flowers.  Dad said, that Mom said, they were Rhododendrons.  I don't get too excited about flowers, except for an occasional sniff.

These flowers, and others, were everywhere.  They were so thick that the trail floor was covered with pink.

Pretty soon, we walked by a big lily pond.  We saw a big bird fly by.  Dad said it might have been a blue heron, if they even fly through Oregon.  This trail is cool 'n all, Dad, but where are the sand dunes?  You said we could run through the sand!  Are we there yet?

Oh yeah!  We're there.  Look at that hill of sand and all the footprints that I can sniff. Heaven for me!

The sign in front of the sand said, "Beach 2."  Two what?  Two beaches?  Second beach?  Two days?  Humans are just not always that clear about things.  Dad told me it meant two miles, whatever that means.

I can't tell you how much fun it was to run in the sand!  Dad was right, this was OUR day.  I ran. I twirled. I ran up sand dunes I ran down sand dunes.  I jumped on Dad.  I cried (a good cry).  I barked.  AND, I sniffed.

Dad said that this looked a lot like the Sahara Desert.  I asked him when he was there, and he told me he had never been there.  So how could he know that this looked like the Sahara Desert?  I love Dad, but humans do say silly things.

As we walked (and ran, and climbed, and twirled, and jumped) along, Dad told me that he would be watching the footprints in the sand so we could find our way back.

How silly!  Why would you watch the footprints, when you could sniff them?  Nothing against Dad, but my sense of smell is far better than his random sense of sight.

I could smell the ocean.  Let's go faster.

Dad says he can see the ocean on the other side of those green pine trees.  Let's go faster.

As Dad trudged along, and I ran along, we passed a couple of small ponds in the sand.  No time to explore.  I smell the ocean.

When we got close to the pine trees, with the ocean just on the other side, the footprints ended, so did the scent.  Dad said that it was important for us to retrace our exact steps, and the steps of others, so that we could get back to the car.  He did not want to get lost, and there were no other people to help us find our way back.  He then said, "It looks like rain."  So we stopped!  I told him I could sniff our way back, but he did not seem to believe me.   Dad ate lunch before we headed back.  He shared his ham sandwich with me, which helped a little.

Dad said that this funny looking grassy thing was a landmark, whatever that means.

The walk back was as much fun as the walk in.  Dad and I often looked back at the ocean.   I love the sand dunes.

When we were almost back to the forest trail, Dad asked me if I wanted to take the high road or the low road (that we took on the way in).  What a question!  I obviously wanted the high road, so we ran up the gigantic dune.  

When we got to the top, the wind was blowing so hard that you could see the sand in the air.  Some of it got in my eyes!

Dad told me that we had to run down the dune to get back to the car.  This does not look like it is downhill, but it is.  Wheeeeee!

Back in the woods, Dad stopped to take a picture of the white lichens growing out of the yellow moss --- always the science teacher.  Ho Hum!

I stopped too, but for a much more important reason. I thought I saw a squirrel.  I will have to tell Tequila about it.

Well we made it back to the motor home, and it never did rain.  I am glad that Dad and I had this time together.  (Mom would not have liked it, and Tequila would still be laying down in the sand.) 

 I think that the pet pictures of the day that Mom and Dad do are weird, but I do have a couple of closing pictures.

As soon as I got back, I assumed my position in the front seat of the motor home to make sure that nothing vicious  came out of the water to attack us.

Within a minute, because of all the frolicking in the sand, I took a nap.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Winchester Bay, Oregon + Umpqua Lighthouse

Hi all, Dianne here.  Above is a view of the waves crashing into the rock jetties that we are enjoying out our big front windows here at Winchester Bay RV Park.    The small opening in the upper right is where the waves are entering the inlet from the Pacific Ocean.  We never tire of the view, because it is different every day.  

Sometimes it's calm...
Sometimes there are boats, like this Coast Guard cutter...

Many times it's rainy, drizzly, cold, and windy and looks like this...
...but even then, since we're cozy and warm inside, with a view like this it's not so bad.

Sometimes we just enjoy looking at the trees and taking it all in...

We knew when we planned this trip that arriving in late May, chances are we'd still encounter the cold, drizzly weather that Oregon is famous for, and most days we have.  What we didn't expect was the bright, beautiful flowers in full bloom, like these rhododendrons...

These daisies...

And the ubiquitous Scotch broom bushes setting the hillsides ablaze with color... 

(Roger here...Notice the ATV on the left side of the photo above.  We are in the middle of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.  The ATVs are everywhere.  We have a great view of them across the bay from our motor home as they drive down the road on the way to the dunes.)

Our first day in town was bright and sunny, and so we took Bandido and Tequila on a brisk walk to check out the nearby Salmon Harbor area.

 The paved walkway from our RV site winds around and past  a marina.


There's no doubt that this is a fishing community...

Finally we reached the small Salmon Harbor business district.  Our first stop was in the Sportsmen's Cannery, where we purchased some frozen halibut and scallops, and two fresh crabs for our supper that were cooked and ready to eat.  
While inside, Roger noticed most people buying fish in cans (I was outside holding the dogs.)  Turns out, my friend Linda (who spent several Septembers here) said it is delicious local canned tuna, so we'll have to go back and stock up!  

Next, we walked on into town to the Sourdough Bakery and Roger held the dogs while I bought some bread, some cheese, and a ready-to-bake pizza.  I didn't quite think through how I'd walk home with a dog in one hand, a bag of bread and cheese, and a large pizza on a wobbly paper tray in the other, but somehow we made it home.  (Roger couldn't help, because he had Bandido in one hand and a bag of fresh, fragrant crab in the other, so he had problems of his own!)

Those scallops are so huge that they look like biscuits, don't they?  I think we'll be eating well while we're here.  (To Bob and Linda, I picked the Tillamook garlic and pepper cheddar cheese after re-reading Bob's blog entries from 2006-2008 about your time here.  I had never seen this variety of Tillamook before.)

Here's our supper that night:  Fresh crab, fresh asparagus, and fresh sourdough bread.  Yum!

Still taking advantage of the pretty weather, we drove over to the nearby Umpqua Lighthouse to check it out.  We didn't take time for the tour that day, but went back on a rainy, drizzly day and took the tour.  Most of the outdoor photos were taken on that sunny first day.  

These photos will look very familiar to our friends Bob and Linda (Because We Can,) for they spent several autumns in a row manning the visitor center (Linda) and giving lighthouse tours (Bob).  I read about it back when we were still dreaming of this full-time RV lifestyle, and it's a place I've wanted to visit ever since.  I was not disappointed!

Our tour guide was a former pilot named Roger, and while there's no way he could have done the tour like I imagine Bob used to, he was still very good and we learned a lot.

 I found it interesting that a large part of the time was spent keeping the giant glass prism lens clean back when it was lit using kerosene, a never-ending task due to the smoke.
The keepers wore special smocks with no buttons or buckles so that they wouldn't inadvertently scratch the beautiful glass prisms.                      
Of course, the highlight of the tour was to climb the stairs up to view the rare red-and-clear glass Fresnel lens, which was imported from France when the current lighthouse was built in 1894.  Here are some photos of the rotating lens:
The above photo illustrates how this lighthouse's signature beam, two-white-lights-then-one-red, is achieved by the light shining through the rotating glass.  Being from the midwest, I didn't even know that each lighthouse even had an identifying beam pattern.   

Bob and Linda urged us to be sure to go back to the lighthouse after dark to see the "light show."  I would have waited for a clear night, but our tour guide said that actually misty nights were best to get a defined view of the light rays.  Well, it was certainly misty that same evening, so we drove the short one-mile drive back to the lighthouse to get a glimpse.  
No photo could do it justice, but above is my pathetic attempt.  The colored rays were really pronounced.  What I wish you could experience were the dancing lights as they rotated and looked like fairies dancing through the surrounding trees (that's what the colored light spots are in the photo.)  It truly was a light show!
 Here's a shot of the lens at night.

I'll close with a few more photos of this beautiful Winchester Bay area of the Oregon Coast:

And a zoomed-in shot of the lonely kayaker...

The pet picture of the day illustrates just what a dog-friendly area this is.  Two things I've noticed here:  Everybody seems to have a dog.  And, they're not tiny dogs, either, but regular dogs like ours.  This photo is of the man parked behind us Memorial Day Weekend with one of his two bulldogs, who obviously adored his master.  This is my kind of guy!!
Photo taken just after the bulldog gave his master a big, sloppy kiss!