Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pacific Shores Motor Coach Resort

DSCN0470We have been “camped” in Newport, Oregon since a week ago Sunday.   We are staying at a place called Pacific Shores Motor Coach Resort  This is the first time we ever have stayed in an RV Park that only allows motor homes; we once stayed in a park that had a motor home-only section. 

DSCN0472We found this park through the Escapees internet forum.  An owner of a lot in this Park was offering it for rent or sale.  We wanted to spend some time at the Pacific and we were also fretting a bit about where we would find a campsite for the 4th of July, so we decided to make Newport, Oregon our home for a month.

It truly is at the Pacific shore, albeit on a bluff about a hundred feel above the sea, but there is a path down to the beach, which is a spectacular beach with a lighthouse at the south end of the crescent.  We have an “ocean glimpse” site – if you look in just the right place out of one of the bedroom windows, you get a little glimpse of the Pacific (not the ones shown below).


DSCN0474Alley cat seems to like it here and that is  what really matters.  It is pretty quiet so she has been able to get out for a daily walk.  She always is the darling of the campground walking on her leash with her pretty pink holster.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chainsaw Sculpting Festival

DSCN0412As we have noted before, sometimes we just stumble upon something we had not been looking for at all.  Such was the case when we traveled through the town of Reedsport, Oregon while visiting the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area on the Pacific Coast.  We didn’t have any intention of stopping in Reedsport, but we saw one of those big white banners hanging over the main highway reading, “15th Annual Oregon Divisional Chainsaw Sculpting Championship”.  We looked at our watches and figured we had at least an hour to invest so we followed the signs over to the site of the chainsaw sculpting.  The admission fee didn’t break the bank at $3 each, so in to the grounds we went.

DSCN0403Almost immediately, we were blown away by what was going on there.  This was an international competition of chainsaw sculptors.  There were professionals and semi pros. There were 50+ contestants from 8 countries.  The sculptors were competing over a four-day period.  Each day the carvers worked on their main event sculpture but in between these sessions they did a 90-minute quick carve where they completed a sculpture within this time period which was sold that evening at auction.  A quick carve example is shown in the picture to the right.



While we were there, the sculptors were working on their main event carvings.  This was their sixth of seven sessions of main event carving so the sculptures really were starting to take shape.




You just never know in your travels when you are going to stumble upon a chainsaw sculpting competition.

Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.  And if you want to learn more about this art genre check it out at

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Oregon Coast

We traveled The Oregon Coast Highway -- Route 101, actually starting in the area of Crescent City, California about 250 miles north to Newport, Oregon.  We spent a couple nights in Coos Bay/North Bend and then on to Newport. Along the way we saw some whales.  (You will have to trust us on that one, we couldn’t snap any pictures of them.)

We saw some murals on buildings – Crescent City is noted for them


We saw lighthouses:


We saw some fields where almost all of the bulbs for Easter Lilies are grown:


We saw lots of Pacific coast line:



We saw and crossed many a bridge spanning over rivers right before they emptied into the Pacific:


We saw and hiked on dunes:


We saw some kitsch as well:


And there were lots of curves on the road often passing through thick green foliage, sometimes around shoreline cliffs, and very often in the rain:


And then there was one last bridge to cross to arrive in Newport:


The Oregon Coast Highway was quite the trip. (Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Coastal Redwoods

From the Rogue River Valley, we headed a bit to the southwest and back into Northern California east of the town of Crescent City.  There we explored the old-growth redwood forest of the region.  These weren’t the first big trees that we had seen on our travels.  We had walked among the Giant Sequoias back in Yosemite.  The Redwoods are taller, but the Sequoias have more volume.  The tallest Redwood presently identified is 379 feet tall.  It is hard to do justice to these majestic trees in pictures, but here are a couple of shots that give some perspective to their massive and soaring beauty.


Most of these larger old-growth trees are in the range of 600 to 2,000 years old.  They generally span from San Francisco north to Southern Oregon a few miles inland from the Pacific where the climate is cool and wet.   Many of the old-growth Redwoods were cut down and used to build California cities such as San Francisco.  Scotty’s Castle back in Death Valley used Redwood beams and planks in its construction.

Most of the remaining old-growth forests of Redwoods now are protected in Federal and State lands.  Highway 199 as it passes through the Redwoods is curved around many of the giant trees in order to preserve them.  One tree in particular was so close to the road that it had been “notched” in order to give vehicles just a bit more room.  We also enjoyed all the ferns that are growing in the cool most environment below all these tall trees.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Harry And David

DSCN0145No, not a couple guys we met at a campground.  This Harry and David is the premium food and gift retailer  Most of their operations are in Medford, Oregon and we took a tour.  We knew of Harry and David.  We were on their catalog mailing list for a number of years and I ordered a gift basket from them once.  But during the tour, we were quite surprised to learn of the extent of their operations.  The company began as a grower and seller of premium pears.  Today, they have a million square feet of floor space, 700,000 pear trees, 1,600 full time employees, and another 6,000 temporary employees for the holiday season.

Shown below are a couple pictures from the “Moose Munch” (caramel corn) operation:


And then the cinnamon swirl:


Candy making:


Some packing operations:



And as Harry and David owned Jackson and Perkins roses for some years, they also have a lovely rose garden out in front of their headquarters:


All in all, the Harry and David tour was quite the surprise and delight.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

“Step Away From The Gasoline Pump”

DSCN0063You can’t pump your own gas in the State of Oregon – it’s the law.  I did not know that until I went to do it.   I pulled in and had to wait for a pump to open.  I didn’t think much about it and really didn’t pay attention while I waited.  Finally, I was able to pull up to the pump, got out of the car, and headed to the pump.  It was at that point that another customer called out of her car window.  “Ma’am, you can’t pump your own gas here in Oregon.”  (She probably saw the Texas plates on the car.)   So I got back in the car and waited and waited for an attendant to show up.  I said, “fill it up, please” and he said, “we don’t take credit cards, will it be cash or debit?”  After I said debit, he gave me a slip of paper with a #2 on it and told me to go inside and wait for them to call my number after the gas was pumped.  So after waiting to get up to a pump, waiting for an attendant to come over to pump my gas, waiting inside to be called to pay for my gas, I was finally on my way out.  And, oh, I nearly swiped my credit card instead of the debit card which the cashier told me would have crashed their entire system.

DSCN0064A few days later, Gary and I pulled up to a pump at another station.  Again, another wait just to get up to a pump; you see backups of cars at most every station you pass.  The attendant came over and we determined this one took credit cards.  We handed the attendant the card and she asked for our zip code as well.  She went over to the pump, swiped the card, and entered the zip code just like we would have done ourselves.

At our third visit, Gary only wanted $20 worth as we don’t like to tow the car behind the motor home with a heavy full load of fuel.  The attendant took the cash, started the pump and walked away to serve another customer.  As the dial raced toward $20, Gary said. “as that nozzle is on your side, you better get out and shut it off at $20 as I don’t want more than $20 worth”.  I leaped out and shut off the nozzle with the meter reading about $19.50.  Upon restarting, it slowed down anyway and finished at $20 even.  The attendant had been able to enter a dollar amount shutoff somehow.  But at that point, I wasn’t going to wait for him eventually to return.  I illegally finished the process and we raced away from the pump as if we were armed bank robbers, hoping that the security cameras hadn’t caught our plate number and that we wouldn’t soon have sirens and red flashing lights roaring up behind us.

It seems Oregon is one of two states, New Jersey being the other, where customers are not allowed to pump their own gasoline. We passed through New Jersey but didn’t buy any fuel there.  The legislation not to allow customer fueling reportedly was passed to avoid job losses, but was also cloaked in fueling safety, although the rules had to be amended to allow motor cyclists to fuel their own in the interest of safety and diesel fueling is apparently at the option of the station, which someone probably figured would be in the interest of safety not to have truckers taking out their wrath on fuel attendants.

So now we know.  If we are in Oregon or New Jersey,  we’ll just stay in the car and WAIT it out.

The Rogue River

DSCN0061While we have been in Southern Oregon, we camped near the banks of The Rogue River.  The Rogue was one of the original 8 rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.  If you hadn’t heard of that particular piece of legislation, well neither had we.  It apparently keeps dams from being built, among other things, on certain rivers.  The Rogue flows about 200 miles draining areas of the Cascade Mountains including the Crater Lake area and other parts of Southern Oregon and empties into the Pacific Ocean.  Various dams have been removed from the Rogue to help restore its wild nature and it now is a popular river for trout and salmon.

Our campground was the Valley of the Rogue State Park, located between the towns of Grants Pass and Medford.  We generally don’t plan ahead well enough to stay in state parks, but we got booked into this one on fairly short notice.  It had the benefits of being a 50 amp full hookup park and even had laundry facilities.  There was a nice paved bike path along the Rouge for several miles.  It was good to be back in a public park again – they have a different feel to them than private RV parks, even if we did have to break out the portable satellite dish to obtain a TV signal.  It was even an opportunity to have a campfire and have a weenie roast (someone had to take the picture).


During the two times that we visited Crater Lake, we followed the Rogue from our campground all the way up to its headwaters.  The river falls nearly a mile in elevation on its run to the Pacific so there are frequent areas of rapids.  We made a stop to view it in the Rogue River Gorge where it has cut through an area of ancient lava flows.