Sunday, July 28, 2013

Port Orford Head State Park

Odometer- still resting
Trip Meter- Local attraction

Joan and I hadn't been up to "Coast Guard Hill" yet this summer.  As a matter of fact we think it may have been closer to two years since out last visit.

The Coast Guard built a Life Boat Station in Port Orford in 1934 and it was active until decommissioned in 1970

Jeff immediately got distracted by a very cool hybrid 3 wheeler parked in front of the barracks.

There is a battery pack and the drive motor and transmission behind the seat.

 All of the original buildings are still here, and in a good state of repair.  The building below is not original and was built in early 2000 when the Motor Lifeboat was returned here for display
 The same 36 foot self bailing, and self righting surf rescue boat that was originally stationed here from 1946 to 1970 was recently restored and place in this new structure.  These boats were built in Curtis Bay Maryland at a cost of $23,133 dollars.  It had a 3-8 man crew and was capable of rescuing up to 20 survivors.

The old barracks building has been kept up very well and now is a very well appointed musuem of local maritime history.

One of the pictures on the wall of the museum, was this picture of an early port structure.

I just happened to have a recent photo of today's port structure.  Sorry to say the new version doesn't work as well as the earlier ones did.
Today's structure is prone to filling with sand, and that's the state it is in currently.  Without a dredging, we are lucky to launch large boats at high tide only.  Port Orford has what is called a "dolly dock"  One of only two in the US and one of six in the world.  All vessels are hauled out of the water by a large crane and set on a rolling trailer or "dolly"

The Museum is quite impressive and we were glad to see many new displays since our last visit.

The grounds are kept just as they were when the Coast Guard occupied this hill top.  One wonders why they chose a very tall hill for the station- the men had to descend 520 wood and concrete steps to the cove below to get to their rescue craft.  (here is a picture of the diorama showing the station and the cove below)
(Sorry about the glare and reflections)

The hill top has a very long poured concrete path that leads out to an observation post on the south end of the high ridge .

As we walked the path to the south point we passed this impressive hemlock.

Nearly to the observation point the trail approaches the ocean on the west side of the hill and the steep terrain gives awesome views of waves crashing on the rocks below.

The Coast Guard Station was built in 1934, and at that time there was very little tall vegetation to contend with.  There used to be a tall metal observation tower at the place where this picture was taken (below).

This town turns out to have a very interesting history.  The CG station was decommissioned in 1970 and the grounds became the Port Orford Heads State Park, which explains the great state of presevation.  

The Cape Blanco Heritage Society works with State Parks to staff and maintain the CG Station, the Cape Blanco Light Station (lighthouse) and the Hughes House and Ranch which I have written about in previous posts.

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Big Move

Odometer 36043
Trip  360 miles to Medford and back

Monday July 22nd 

Joan and I drove from Port Orford to Medford Monday and picked up a 26 foot U-Haul truck for our big move.  We have arranged with Labor Ready of Medford to have two young men help us with the transfer from POD to truck on Tuesday morning in White City.  Our good friends Mark and Carolyn have invited us to stay the night in their guest room and help us load the many items that they stored for us in the last hectic days of our move in June of 2012.  We loaded 3 large metal storage cabinets, bicycles, a wheelbarrow, lawn and garden equipment, etc, etc.  We also got Mark to help us load our 1986 Gold Wing motorcycle onto our small  utility trailer and get it hooked up to the Honda CRV

Tuesday July 23rd

Carolyn sent us off with a good breakfast and we met David and Salvador on the dot of 8 AM in White City at the PODS storage yard for the transfer.  The solo PODS employee at this location used a forklift to retrieve our POD from the storage building where it has rested for the last 13 months.  Once we had the two door-to-door, the work began.
The forecast for Medford for today is 100+ degrees so our goal was to be finished by noon at the latest.  Dave and Sol were better than I could have hoped.  Both were strong and willing, and Sol had a good eye for packing, so Dave and I just kept handing him boxes and furniture and he wedged it all in somewhere.
We knew that the stuff in the POD would "fluff up", so we purposely ordered a truck that was much larger.  Good thing, because when we had everything transfered, we just barely had enough room to get the door of the truck closed.  The door closed on the truck at 11 AM and we were dog tired.  Mark and Carolyn had loaned us an ice chest, and we had iced down 24 bottles of water this morning for the crew,  and at 11 AM at least half of it was gone (along with the donuts Joan had scored for us!).

We were so pleased with our "employes", that we tiped them $25 each and wished them well.  Labor Ready will charge us, and pay them, for a 4 hour minimum and we feel that is very fair under the circumstances- they really performed for us, finishing at least an hour sooner than projected.  Did I mention that it was HOT?  Carolynh had made up cooling neck wraps for all 4 of us the night before.  These pre-soaked neck wraps have a special gel that holds water and keeps the neck area cool- what a god-send today!

Joan and I had a quick lunch at a fast food burger joint in  White City and were anxious to be on our way.  By Noon the convoy was in motion.  We chose the northern route- up I-5 to Winston and then over highway 42 to highway 101 and them South 25 miles to Port Orford.  At the little town of Coquille we could start to feel the coastal cool and could turn off the dash A/C and roll down the windows.  We stopped at All American Ice Cream and Frozen Yougut in Coquille for a small one-scoop cone before starting the last leg of the journey.  (My one scoop looked more like THREE scoops!)

We cruised into Port Orford at 5PM
The trip over from Medford was smooth and un-eventful, and by 5PM we were home!  

We found a suitable spot to unload the Goldwing and Jeff parked it in the garage, before we both headed for the solitude of our motorhome and some hot showers and dinner. ( in that order)

Wednesday July 24th

Today it is all us.  Joan and I will have to unload the whole truckload into the garage of our new home.  Why the Garage?  We don't get possession of the house until our seller moves out on the 31st, but we worked out an agreement to get our stuff in the garage before we had to pay another month's rent on the POD.

Up early- at Joan's request, we needn't have worried about over-heating, the high for today is a sunny 67 degrees.  Purr-fect!  No room for an injury here- we did our warm-up stretches, and promised that we would take it nice and slow- let the dollies do the work.

At 11:30 we were close enough to see parts of the front wall of the truck, but we were tired and hungry, so we closed the doors and headed back to the motorhome for lunch and a short siesta.

Back at work by 1:30 we were finished unloading by 2:30.   We swept out the truck and returned it to Kar Kare Auto Parts, the local U-Haul dealer here in the city.

Jeff still had some energy left, so he and Joan took a short boat ride on the lake,  A picture perfect finish to this high stress day!

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Trip to the City

Odometer  36043
Trip miles  0

Monday July 15th

We got the call.
Curry County Title called to tell us the papers on the home sale were ready to sign could we cruise on down and sign today?  Uh-huh- you bet!
A trip 25 miles south to Gold Beach was just the ticket for this beautiful day.  Gold Beach is the county seat of Curry County, which stretches from Brookings in the south, to just north of  the town of Langlois which is a few miles up highway 101 from Port Orford.

Gold Beach was named for the gold found on the beaches by early explorers back in 1852.  I can't help it, I always look down when I walk the beaches- I so want to find a nugget among the rocks there!

Gold Beach is also where the Rogue River reaches the Pacific.  One of the best salmon fishing rivers in the west, this area is usually so crowded with small boats, that you could step from boat to boat and not need the bridge.

However- when the fishing boats aren't plentiful, there is a very serviceable bridge to get you from north to south.  The Issac Lee Patterson bridge was engineered by Conde B. McCullough and built in 1931.  Since Gold Beach has no natural harbor, the bridge was an important link to the shipping port of Coos Bay.

We enjoyed coffee at the Gold Beach Bookstore and a walk down main street, then after our closing at the tilte company (we own a house again!) we wandered through the marina and had a celebratory ice cream cone.

 Gold Beach is home to the Rogue jet boat excursions from the ocean to the wild and scenic sections of the Rogue River 35 miles up stream.  Two rival companies; Jerry's Jets and the Mail Boats both offer exciting cruises that last 4 hours or more.  The pilots don't just full throttle you to the destination and back, but spend time stopping and idling while they point out the flora and fauna of the region from endangered lilies to bald eagle and bears.  One special trip a day is to Paradise Bar, which has a backcountry resort that takes overnight guests and is reachable only by boat, airplane or on foot.
 Joan and I have taken this excursion a couple times in the past and Joan was reliving the ectasy here.

Sadly, eveyone who comes here can't help but wonder why there is a delelict boat being slowly savaged by the elements.  The Mary D. Hume sits on the bottom of the river bank, alternately flooded and dried out with each change of the tide
The Mary D. Hume was bult in Gold Beach in 1881 to haul cargo to and from San Francisco, later she was used as a whaler and towards the end of her life she was used as a tug.  Retired in 1977 she was refitted by Crowley Marine and sent to Gold Beach to be used as a museum ship.  Tied up in law suits and plagued by mishaps, the ship sunk at her moorings and began a long slow decay.  132 years old, and this is her fate.  The ship was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in August of 1979 and although a review of her status in 1992 found her in this state- the registration was renewed.  The hulk was deemed historically significant.

On our way back up the coast to Port Orford, Joan and I stopped at a little place I've driven by so many times with the thought "someday I'll explore this area.."

Well someday is today.  We turned west off the highway at the crest of a small headland that looked like it had a road down to the beach.  A few hundred feet down the road, a gate halted all further access.
The road still goes down to the beach, but the only traffic is on foot.  Must have looked too treacherous to the engineers at ODOT.
From our vantage point, we could look north on this beautiful day and see the outline of Humbug mountain, and in the far distance you can just make out Coast Guard Hill, and the harbor at Port Orford.

Thursday July 18th

This trip was just for fun.  We took off for Coos Bay this morning, in no particular hurry, and with no definite goals.  When we reached Bandon, we just couldn't pass up the RayJen coffee house in old town where we grabbed a cup of coffee and a breakfast cookie which we ate in the sun at an outside table.

We couldn't help but notice some real interesting sculptures next door that had a decidedly maritime theme.

This white seal and the giant fish below turned out to have been made entirely from trash gleaned from beach clean-ups

The fact that the medium was washed up debris only increased our interest in these very well made sculptures.
Turns out there is a workshop next door that specializes in this type of art.  We were interested to see further exhibits, but the building was closed.  Maybe next time...

We continued up the coast to Coos Bay where I discovered my new favorite place- LNL Lumber Outlet!

This place has awesome deals on wood products, cabinets, doors and all things wood- I'm in heaven.  This will be the go-to place for any remodeling we have planned.

We tooled around Coos Bay and even drove out to Charleston where Jeff went to Englund Marine; browsed the boating supplies, checked out the price on a new set of oars, and talked to the knowledgeable folks there about paint for the row boat which will be a necessity this fall.

We have a favorite "fruit stand" that we've been going to for years and years.  It started out as just a small road side stand and has blossomed into quite the store.

Misty Meadows is first and foremost a place for blueberries.  Vanna Austin is showing the Sorry no U-Picks sign.She was thrilled about that after a youth of picking blueberries every summer!

They also have a honey bee problem-

Seems there is this little hole in the side of the front wall

That leads to a pretty good size hive on the other side.

The best part of the trip was getting home in time for a tour around the lake.

 The boat is swelling up nicely and took on very little water during the hour or so I was out on the lake.

It now rides quite a bit higher on the water .

Joan and I will be starting our "moving adventure" on Monday.  We will head for Medford where we will pick up a U-haul truck to bring our stored possessions to our "new" house here in Port Orford.
We hope to find a couple more opportunities to flame the PODS people who so kindly refused to deliver "our" POD to Port Orford- for no other reason than they didn't want to.  By the time we hire movers, a truck and pay for the fuel their decision will have cost us $470 bucks!

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

Monday, July 15, 2013

Our boat gets wet

Odometer  36043
Trip Miles  200 miles

July 11, 2013

Back on the coast, after a quick trip to Medford for dental checkups, and visiting with friends.  We feel like we were caught in a whirlwind, making lists every day to get everything done and still have time with friends.

One of the things we had to do is to arrange for a U-Haul truck to take our belognings from storage in Medford to our new house in Port Orford.  When we sold our house in Medford, we thought we were being very clever and had a POD delivered.  The POD is essentially a storage container which you fill and it gets taken to a storage yard until you buy a new house and then it is delivered to that new house.  Or at least that's the way it should work.  When Joan called to arrange delivery she was told that they don't "service this area"  Another way of saying you'll have to rent a truck and unload everything from your POD and take it to Port Orford yourself.  We were astonished!  They'll deliver to Portland 250 miles away, but not to Port Orford only 188 miles away- not even for an additional fee.  We are not pleased. (end of rant)

We really enjoyed connecting with our friends in Medford, and we will do this often for sure.

On our way back to the coast, Joan drove our second car and towed our row boat, while Jeff drove the motorhome.

We kept in touch with a pair of FRS radios.  Our second car is a Suzuki X-90, a small two-place car that Suzuki  imported to the US from 1995 to 1998.  It is really unique in that it was a fully loaded car body on a Suzuki Sidekick chassis.  The car is equipped with options like A/C, 4WD, Auto trans, ABS, Security System, Glass removable T-tops, Cruise, Air bags, It is towble 4 wheels down and the list goes on.  What a hoot to drive- and it's a conversation starter at all RV parks when we tow it.

We stopped in Brookings to visit briefly with our good friend Mark, and he offered Jeff another cooked crab!  Yeah!   Joan, who doesn't care for crab, got some fish and chips at the Hungry Clam on our way north. (she shared with me!)

We got back to Port Orford at 8 PM and slid back into our regular space at the Port Orford RV Village, and hooked up the utilities in time to get in a short walk before dark.

Sunday morning, we were up early and Joan helped me get the boat into the lake at the Pinehurst boat ramp.
We had to row the boat across the lake before it sunk on us- so Joan's job was to run the bilge pump on the trip across.  Okay that needs some explanation.  This is a real wood lapstrake boat and they leak badly when they are dry- and ours was bone dry.  As the wood takes up water the boards swell together and hold out water a lot better.  
Joan did well and we made it with about 6" of freeboard to spare.  
When we arrived off shore from the lake acces by our new house, Jeff rowed back out and dropped the anchor and attached the Anchor Buddy to the anchor chain.   The Anchor Buddy is essentially an enormous bungee that allows you to hook up- row into shore- and then let the boat go back out to it's mooring.  A rope to the shore lets you pull the boat back in.  

We left it floating, mostly full of water to soak.  By Wednesday we should be able to bail it out and it will stay reasonably dry as long at we leave it in the water.

Tomorrow we plan to drive to Gold Beach to fill out paperwork on the home sale, and Jeff wants to get his fishing license.

Your Traveling Friends,

Joan and Jeff

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hanging around Southwestern Oregon

Odometer  35843 miles
Trip meter  196 miles

June 30, 2013

Joan and I took a long awaited drive out to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse just a few miles north of town.

The road out to the lighthouse takes you right past the Hughes House, which is a restored farm house from the 1890's.  We did not go in to the interior this time, but we have done so several times in the past.  It is authentically restored and furnished and there are docents who give tours and talk about family life in the late 1800's on the Oregon Coast.

The road to the lighthouse takes you 2 miles west off of highway 101 (The Oregon Coast Highway) to what once was a Coast Guard installation and the light house.

  Now all that is left of the Coast Guard presence here is a single building and several concrete slabs.  Joan and I honeymooned in this area when we were first married in 1977 and remember the locked gates and barbwire fences that surrounded the barracks, offices and warehouses that nestled around the lighthouse.

The lighthouse was commissioned in 1867 and built in 1870.  It is the oldest of all the surviving Oregon lighthouses.

The Coast Guard presence has been erased since they left in the 1980s as well as the keepers houses and oil houses of long ago.

The lighthouse tower itself is very reminiscent of the towers we toured in the eastern US.  The brick was to have been made by a local contractor but the quality was poor and the bricks were eventually ordered from the Bay Area and delivered by a ship, which was cast apon the shore in a gale as it was attempting to unload.
Wind speeds of 100 mph are not uncommon and pebbles driven by the wind, on at leat one occasion,  broke  windows of the lantern house!

The first lamp in the lighthouse was a first order fresnel lens with a hood that shuttered the light and gave it the appearance of blinking on and off.  That lens was exchanged for a second order lens with eight bulls-eyes that gave the characteristic on/off blink.  The lens was partially destroyed by vandals in 1992, and it was repaired by a local optician in Bandon in 1994 using Cornig Pyrex glass at a cost of $80,000 dollars.  This original lens, along with it's electric drive motor still survive (and work) today.

When RVers don't have anything else to do, they clean or repair something- and there always IS something to be cleaned or repaired.  Today Jeff tackeld the grungy BBQ grill- dismantling it and giving it liberal doses of Simple Green.

Jeff is always crunching numbers and analyzing our spending, comparing it to our budget numbers and one of his targets has always been to get Joan to cut his hair and save the $20 plus tip that it costs on the road.  Well today he got his wish and we will share the experience with you.

At first Jeff is looking a little apprehensive...

However Joan showed her competence and in no time Jeff was back to smiling.

Here Jeff gets to admire the awesome job-
And the proud barber beams in the back ground- pretty cool Joan!

July 8th, 2013
Joan and I had dental appointmets in Medford and we also made an appointment to meet a classic car appraiser for the Isetta we have for sale, so... We hauled up our anchor and headed from Port Orford to Medford on Monday the 8th of July.
Our trip down the coast towards Crescent City was fabulous.  We have a theory, and it has always played out this way- the day we decide to leave the coast is usually a beautiful sunny, and mostly windless gorgeous day.

Last week, my good friend Mark Salter  rode his motorcycle up to Port Orford to see the new house and chat for a while.  Mark is vacationing in his favorite spot- Brookings, this week.
Since Joan and I needed to head back over to Medford for appointments,  we stopped in at Brookings to see what Mark was up to.  Mark gave us some fresh cooked crab!  What a great lunch!
Joan who eschews most seafood, and especially crab and shrimp- had some mac and cheese.

Before showing the Isetta to the appraiser Jeff wanted to give it a very thorough going-over.
Mark and I bled the brakes just before we took it out to the Medford Cruise, on June 16th, and I felt at that time that the brakes could use some adjusting.  Therefore tonight,  we pulled it out of the garage and did the adjustments- it made for a late evening.

July 9th, 2013

Jeff's 8 o'clock dental cleaning went well, and we met Bill Cobb from American Appraisial Network at 11 to get the car appraised.  Bill thinks that the car is worth more than we are asking for it in our Craig's List ad, so we are going to pull the ad tonight.  The full report won't be complete until Friday at the earliest, we'll let you know the results.
Jeff loaded up on fishing gear at Wal-Mart today while Joan was getting our prescriptions filled- what a sneak!
Our US Cellular contract is up this month, so we looked at getting a plan for the iPhone we own.   ATT wants $80 bucks a month!  Yikes!  The salesperson told us to look into Straight Talk Wireless plans for ATT iPhones like ours.  Still pricy at $42  a month, but it may be worth more consideration.  Anybody that has tried it- let us know how it worked out for you.

Your Traveling Friends,

Jeff and Joan