September 23 Port Orford

It is fortunate that there are no early rising requirements for retirement because we certainly did not comply this morning, awaking after 0900. We may or may not be bad. After coffee, we drove the few miles into Langlois to partake of what Peggy’s relatives insist are the best hot dogs on the coast. Now I’m not sure that anybody has completed an accurate rating of Oregon coastal hot dogs and, considering what frankfurters contain, I’m not convinced anybody should. So, per our information, we popped into the Langlois Market for some much-touted danger dogs.
The hype turned out to be undeserved because the hot dogs were okay but not worth a long drive. They are also expensive. I suggest anybody wanting a hot dog bargain go to Costco where they do have good hot dogs at half the price, including a drink. The trip wasn’t a complete snafu; Peggy picked up some fruit and veggies and I purchased some deli meat for our next camping location.
From our hot dog disappointments we headed down US-101 to Port Orford, a small town about 20 miles south of our RV park. The weather was cooperative again today and the views out to sea from the Port Orford area are spectacular. Massive sea stacks protrude up to 150 feet from the Pacific. Whales could be spotted, straining the waters for yummy little almost invisible critters. Sea birds were having a great time in the moderate breezes.
We pulled over at just about every available place where the ocean could be seen from Port Orford south to Humbug Mountain State Park and there wasn’t one place where we left the truck running. The ocean and cliff scenery here is stunning.
We fooled around for so long that lunchtime crept up on us. Peggy, in her usual amazing foresight, had seen fit to bring fruit along on our drive but in violation of our policy of not dining out more than once a day, we stopped in at a venerable fish joint in Port Orford called the Crazy Norwegian’s. We had some chowder and some very good fish and chips. I think they undercharged us but who am I to tell these hayseeds they have made an error. I made it up in tip.
Then we started some very inefficient fuel shopping. I fueled the diesel truck. I intended to fill our gas can so we can have generator power when we head up the Rogue River tomorrow but I noted that there was a big hole in my gas can. We headed to the local hardware store on the main drag and it looked tiny from the street. Once inside, however, I realized it was a very long, narrow building and the place was gigantic. Soon I was on my way back out the door with a spiffy new 5 gallon can. Back to the gas station we headed and filled the can with pricey gasoline. A five minute task had turned sour and taken about 40 minutes.
We stopped by Cape Blanco again on our way back to Langlois. The weather was not as clear as yesterday but the scenery was still somewhere between fantastic and extraordinary. It is a magnificent stretch of coastline from Bandon to Humbug Mountain. I’m not sure I’m ready to go inland tomorrow.
We finished off the day with some strolling around Floras Lake, right next to our camping spot at Boice-Cope County Park. This is a great county campground. It has nice restroom and shower facilities, great RV spots with ample room, terrific scenery on all sides, very reasonable fees ($22 for RVs) and, unique to government facilities, good wifi.
We got a few pictures. Click here

September 22 Cape Blanco

It was a day for exploration. The weather was clear, cool and breezy. We hopped into Charlotte, took the squiggly road back to 101 and headed south to Cape Blanco. We have tried twice before to go out to the lighthouse at Cape Blanco but both times we were turned back. In 2014, the howling wind was blowing our trailer into lanes where it should not have been and we chickened out and turned around. About two weeks ago we came down to Cape Blanco with just the truck but it was so foggy we were having a tough time seeing 50 feet. The road to the lighthouse was closed.
Today, we drove right out to the lighthouse parking lot. The wind was whistling along at about 35 knots but the skies were blue. As soon as we left the parking lot, we ran into a volunteer couple named Jim and Bliss who directed us toward the observation building/bookstore/library/fee station where we paid the $2 a head entry fee. They should charge more.
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse sits atop Cape Blanco, the furthest west spot in Oregon. Magnificent cliffs extend north and south from the Cape and the ocean below us was pockmarked with massive rock monoliths and reefs. The views up and down the coast are spectacular. The lighthouse itself is pretty interesting. This lighthouse still operates, unlike the lights at Cape Arago and Heceta Head further up the coast.
On the way out of the lighthouse grounds, we ran across Jim and Bliss again. They were trying to stay in places out of the stiff wind and we all found the leeward side of their Ford F-250 a great spot for chatting and checking out the fabulous views. We found out a lot about the area, some of the locals and some interesting lighthouse tidbits. We also found out they are full-time RVers like us and go from place to place like us but, unlike us, they volunteer to help out in parks. They were very nice folks. Maybe we’ll stop in and see them again tomorrow.
Peggy and I also probed all the paved and some of the gravel roads west from 101 between Bandon and Cape Blanco but none seem to make it to the ocean. The scenery was gorgeous anyway. This is a particularly stunning part of the world and we both eagerly await more exploration tomorrow.
There’s some pix of all this wonderfulness that you can see if you click here

September 21 Coos Bay to Langlois

Today was a travel day. We closed up shop in Coos Bay and jumped onto US-101 southbound. We passed through Bandon again and continued south. We were intending to get into a Curry County campground near Langlois, but we had no reservation.
The town of Langlois is about a dozen buildings along 101 and some houses spread out on a few side roads. As to pronunciation, we have almost immediately encountered some differences. Folks in Coos Bay call it “Lang-loyze.” The French would probably say it “Lang-lwah.” Strangely, the locals call it “Lang-less” which seems right out.
Just south of town, we turned toward the coast on Flores Lake Loop and found our way to Boice-Cope County Park and, happily, they had a spot for us. Our drive was short today and we set up in a jiffy. Peggy felt an urge to take a stroll to the beach which lies just beyond relatively small Flores Lake and I let her. She came back a while later quite exhausted-looking because she found almost the entire distance is through sand with the consistency of cat litter.
In the evening, we took the campground host’s recommendation and headed the few miles into Langlois for dinner at a place now called the Spoon and formerly called the Greasy Spoon. The main restaurant building is an old single-wide trailer split between the kitchen and a small seating area although they also offer outdoor picnic table seating in the back yard. We elected to go out into the grass and mud. Despite the impressive surroundings, the food and porter they served us were pretty good. I had ling cod with pineapple/jalapeno sauce, potatoes and gravy and roasted carrots with leeks. I’m not sure I ever ate a leek before. They taste like onions. Peggy got a chicken/apple sausage with baked apples and grilled onions. She said it was tasty but they overcooked the sausage. We got out for less than $50 including drinks and tip.
When we left our spot in Coos Bay today, there was a monster in our electrical pedestal. To see this terror, click here

September 20 Luigi’s opens!

All last night there were downpours. It started with some nifty lightning and thunder early in the evening and then the weather transformed into squalls and lulls. Many spots in the RV park where the civil engineering was, shall we say, questionable were flooded. The flooded areas were very close to surface drains but it appears the drains were installed in the high spots. That must keep the maintenance costs down.
The rain continued through the day today so we mostly hung out in the trailer. However, Peggy did make a call to Luigi’s, a restaurant in the Empire district of Coos Bay. Two days ago we went to Luigi’s, only to find it closed due to break-in and theft the night before. They did not think they would open before tomorrow but fate was on our side and they opened today. We shot right over and both ordered a sandwich they make called a Garbage Grinder.
Garbage Grinders are large sandwiches with salami and pepperoni and a couple kinds of cheese and, in Peggy’s case, an assortment of garden vegetables all assembled and then toasted. I am positive the grinders I get are very bad for me and I shouldn’t eat them and they are unhealthy but they sure taste great.
With the rain continuing, we fueled the truck, dumped the waste tanks, disconnected from park water and prepped for our departure from the Mill RV Park tomorrow.

September 19 Shore Acres State Park

Back when I still had a viable digestion system, we used to visit a sandwich shop here in Coos Bay called Luigi’s. They make an absolutely delicious sandwich with an assortment of Italian sausages and cheeses entitled a “Garbage Grinder.” The fully-assembled sandwich is then placed into an oven for a while, leaving a luscious, gooey mass of heart-plugging yumminess that is unforgettable.
I had certainly never forgotten about them and today we drove over to the Empire district of town to acquire some of these savory, but quite possibly unhealthful, sandwiches. I have been jonesing for a Garbage Grinder ever since I pulled into town but Luigi’s is closed on Sunday and Monday so we were obliged to wait for today to head over and have our aortas blocked.
Our impeccable timing being what it is, we pulled up at Luigi’s with my saliva glands doing exactly what Pavlov predicted but, regrettably, found a little note on the door indicating that some creep had broken into Luigi’s and stolen “everything” and Luigi’s would be closed until after our departure from Coos Bay. Bummer. Heavy sigh. Drooling, desolate but probably healthier old people departed, heartbroken.
In disgust, we drove away to find another restaurant but we knew the food elsewhere would be no match for Luigi’s dangerous, but very tasty, sandwiches. We found a place called Vinnie’s Smokin’ Good Burgers and Sandwiches not many blocks away. Their food was nominal, at best. They are “smokin’ good” in name only and little else. Their fries would have been okay if they had cooked them fully.
After the disappointment of Vinnie’s, we decided to go see something that was spectacular so we headed for the coast. The weather today was rainy and blustery and we knew the primeval, rocky coast of southern Coos County was always a good bet for terrific scenery when under the onslaught of nasty weather. We elected to go to Shore Acres State Park, where Peggy and I got married under a garden arbor on a beautiful, sunny August day back in 1979.
It was magnificent. We got caught out in the rain a few times as we strolled through the park, but it was certainly worth the effort. The gigantic storm surf was smashing into the rocky coastline and cliffs, exploding into huge blasts of spray. The jagged, stark bluffs show stratified geological formations that have been cleaved by the ocean, exhibiting fanciful, bizarre shapes. Huge colonies of seals and sea lions can be seen and heard on the offshore rocky pinnacles where they have hauled out to avoid the chaotic, churning surf. It was stunning. There was no recreational swimming near the coast today – definitely a Red Flag surf day.
To make things even better, there is a gorgeous botanical garden within the park, a remnant of the old Simpson estate that used to occupy this property. Peggy and I were married in this botanical garden and it was just as beautiful today as it was all those years ago when we tied the knot. We had little inkling then that decades in the future we would return and be just as amazed at these superb surroundings. We found an observation building near the bluff tops and another gazebo in the botanical garden where we could take shelter from the periodic rain squalls. The views were brilliant and we love this place even if it does now cost $5 to park.
If the zaniness of computers and phones have not stymied me, there should be some pictures available to see by clicking here

September 18 Up the rivers

Last night there were a couple fiberglass-rattling downpours but the temperatures outside are very mild. Recently we have been in unseasonably warm weather in Eugene, Florence, Remote and Lakeside and the cool weather here is joyous to me. Peggy wears a coat.
We have recently been dazzled by driving up Oregon’s gorgeous river valleys and, even though Peggy and I both lived here back in the Pleistocene, we decided to drive up some of the valleys in the Coos River watershed. When I was young and erroneously believed I was Invisible, invulnerable, talented and handsome, I worked for Weyerhauser in the logging industry and drove either up one or the other river road every weekday for almost 10 years. Back then, I could tell you what every approaching corner looked like and the maximum possible speed for successfully rounding it.
Today was my chance to affirm my firm belief that my memory of these roads was absolutely crystal-clear and I would be able to regale Peggy with tales of who lived where, which corners were tight and the location of former good friends’ mishaps into the rivers. We had barely started up the Allegany side of the river when I noted that a considerable amount of the scenery seemed very pretty but mostly unfamiliar. Further explorations reinforced my new belief that I can remember a puny fraction of the places I passed through hundreds of times in the past although there is the caveat that the trees and brush are now 35 years older. So are the houses that are still standing. We drove up both the Allegany (north side of the Coos River) and the Dellwood roads to the gravel where we turned around. We spotted some turkeys. On the Allegany side, we also spotted some enormous fields of high-grade marijuana growing with little happy men tending them. The smell downwind, where we were, was luscious. There certainly wasn’t this much bud stock growing in plain sight when I lived here. It was illegal then but since then the clever Oregonians took care of that problem by making it not illegal.
When I was working on the Dellwood side and was a logging newbie, I was sitting next to a guy named Jay Scanlon on the crew bus (an ordinary conventional school bus but with no discernible suspension system and referred to as a “crummy” in logger parlance) as we watched the sharp rocks of the immediately adjacent road cuts pass within inches of the side of the crummy. Scanlon commented that the driver was really talented to round round the narrow curves without grinding the crummy against the dense sandstone. Right then, there was a massive bang and subsequent horrible scraping, giving all the passengers a quick re-seating along the green vinyl schoolchild benches lining the left side of the crummy. It was only after we got off and told the driver to continue without us that we noted as the crummy drove away that there was plainly a problem with the rear suspension making the vehicle crab to the right. The river was coming up on the right so we were happy to catch the next crummy to town.
Weyco abandoned ship here about 25 years ago. Their facilities along Coos Bay, in addition to a 200,000 acre timber farm east of town, were a credit union, an administrative building, an infirmary, a 3/4 mile long sawmill, a big plywood mill, bay side wharves and a bark-burning steam powerhouse which used to emit massive columns of suspiciously pinkish steam around the clock. The land where Weyerhauser used to have their massive bay side sawmill in town was ceded to the local Indians and they razed the mill and built the RV park where we are currently camped. A small remaining part of the former Weyco plywood mill sits across the parking lot from The Mill Casino, Hotel and Tower which stand where most of the plywood mill and powerhouse used to engage in vigorous commerce.
The afternoon weather started looking ominous so we took the long way back to our park and hunkered down inside the Barbarian Invader. Peggy is making soup as I write and the savory odors coming from the stove are quite distracting. The End
We got some photos, including the reefer, that you can see if you click here

September 17 Lakeside to Coos Bay

When we awoke, the gentle thumping of rain on the fiberglass parts could be detected. Fortunately for us, it quit early and we closed up our RV, hooked the trailer to the truck and departed from Osprey Point RV Park in Lakeside, OR. It was nice at this park; the wifi was pretty good, the amenities were extensive (even a bar), roads were good, the staff was responsive and friendly, it is located on a lake shore and the surroundings are peaceful and gorgeous,
Our travel plans for today were unambitious and we soon arrived at The Mill Casino and RV Park in Coos Bay. The Mill RV Park is about 20 miles from Osprey Point. The Mill RV Park has good wifi, a nearby audible highway, adjacent Coos Bay Rail Link tracks used early in the morning and with considerable air horn work, a neighboring casino, a great view across the Bay, tree-filled horizons and full hookups. Spaces are adequate, but cozy. We pulled into our space, set up and were all squared away by noon. I envisioned a cocktail and a nap. Peggy had other ideas and went out for an excursion with her sisters in the afternoon.
Peggy said they were going to a quilt show, but you know how those sisters can be. By universal acclaim, they promptly went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant called Herradura. Peggy reports good food except their enchiladas were inside out. Strangely, the enchiladas Peggy got had salsa verde (green, for the gringos) on the outside and salsa rojo (the red stuff) on the inside. Christmasy. We generally see the tomatillo or tomato sauce on the outside, but not here.
Then the trio popped in at the Coos Sand & Sea Club quilt show and I can speculate that Peggy and her sisters gave all the work thorough scrutiny. Then they sort of went house shopping before heading over to their childhood home to gaze upon it one more time before the new owners get it, which may be happening right now.
While cruising around, one of Peggy’s sisters stated that she feels much better after nearly crapping out recently. A trip to the hospital in Salem got her back on her feet, primarily due to the ministrations of her new cardiologist with the unfortunate name of Ashit, allegedly pronounced Ah-sheet. I don’t know if that is his first or last name but it seems he would have suffered mightily during his junior high and high school years. Uhh…Uhhh.. I can’t resist! Is his first name Take, C., Give, Yuur or I’m? In any event, he is reported to be a great cardiologist. I’m not kidding.
Peggy got a picture of her sister having a lemon and a quilt you can see if you click here

September 16 Did the repair work?

We took Charlotte out for a test drive today. During the drive, we did not witness any clouds of smoke belching from the tailpipe but there may be a rattle from the tailpipe assembly that needs to be addressed. I’ll climb under Charlotte’s ample bed and give the exhaust pipe a sniff.
We stopped by the Umpqua Lighthouse again, mostly because I like it there so much. We checked out the camping at nearby Tugman State Park and it is quite nice. We cruised through the town of Winchester Bay, passing a cannery on the docks that emanated an acrid smell of rotten fish that was almost biblical.
Finished in town, we headed out onto 101 and then east on OR-38 for another glimpse of the elk herds in the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area about 3 miles from Reedsport. It was a little early for elk (they seem to dine around late afternoon or early evening) so we passed the elk viewpoints and continued up to the road for Dean Creek which extends south from OR-38.
We had barely gotten started up Dean Creek when we came across a very impressive bull elk chaperoning his harem of cows and they were magnificent-looking. Dean Creek was also very scenic although we chickened out and turned around about 5 miles later when the road turned from asphalt paving to gravel.
We even got in a trip to the grocery store to stock up on vittles. We will be leaving Lakeside and the Osprey Point RV Park tomorrow and heading south again, this time to Coos Bay.
We got a few pix. Click here

September 15 Charlotte gets a new DPF

This was the day for us to take Charlotte into Coos Bay’s Tower Ford for some exhaust system repair, namely a replacement DPF which stands for diesel particulate filter or double priced fubar. The poor girl has been periodically emanating vast clouds of white smoke for the enjoyment of all but we didn’t like it.
We had an appointment for the truck to go up on the rack at 2:00 PM. We also had an agreement that a loaner would be available for us because we did not want to spend four hours in their little waiting area with uncomfortable furniture.
The truck finally got raised off the ground at 3:10. The way we found out it was late going in for work was because we were still hanging out in the waiting closet. The loaner we were to drive apparently did not exist except in the service writer’s imagination.
Along about 5:15, the four hours of labor paid for was completed in a record 2 hours and 5 minutes. The Ford book that lists job durations and costs seems to be rigged in Ford’s favor because our bill still made us pay for the full, imaginary cost.
We headed back home to our RV park in Lakeside after being skinned by Ford. Not surprisingly, when we turned into our park, the tailpipe assembly made a funny rattling sound. It also made the sound when Peggy would slam the passenger side door. I was pretty pissed so I kicked the tailpipe but, after that, the tailpipe quit making the sound when the door was slammed. Maybe I fixed it. We will find out tomorrow when we take Charlotte out for a low-speed cruise in the coastal Oregon forests.

September 14 Doing the wash

We were slugs today. We got up late. The weather was gorgeous. We had a sizable breakfast. We took long showers. Peggy whipped up a savory evening meal involving turkey and Gorgonzola. It was great.
We did get the laundry done. I should probably make that “Peggy got the laundry done and I was in the laundry with her.” The best part about the whole day was the total lack of remorse we had about being lazy.