After we headed out of California, we were on to Oregon and the coast. As we pulled out of Eureka, we saw this T@b right by the King Salmon sign! Hi Okies!
We were bound for Cape Blanco State Park where we were assured we could get a campsite without a reservation in place. It was the weekend again and we were a little skeptical but we went anyway.
The drive along the coast was really something. Big Morro-style rocks pop up out of the water at regular intervals and the surf crashes ashore. We like just seeing the landscape and watching it change, whether on the bikes or in the bus. We figure we better see as much as we can around here before the Cascadia Fault springs into action.
We got to Cape Blanco and it was pretty late in the day. On a Friday. We drove through the whole campground and it was full. Stopped at the Camp Host and he said they were full every day. So much for our no reservation lifestyle. We continued on and found a small county park at Floras Lake, a small freshwater lake right next to the ocean. They had a spot for one night so we took it. The lake is popular with windsurfers and kite boarders and we watched them do their thing. What a great way to burn calories! We met Beth, who was zipping back and forth across the lake. And I bet if they had those kite boards when Jim was a kid, his whole water-skiing family would have been all over that.
We decided to move on to Florence where we found a great spot at the Elks Lodge. The whole town had marked bike lanes on all the streets so I took a ride and checked out the town, which is on a protected inlet. The famous Oregon Dunes are here, along with lots of beautiful gardens in full bloom. What a treat!
I found my way to the waterfront which isn’t far from the Elks. At the local antique shop, I found a housekeeping solution for the bus. We call it the Mudroom. I had just recently measured the space and knew what would fit.
BEFORE: Shoes, Frisbees, slippers and yoga mats everywhere!
AFTER: Yoga mats are bungeed into place and shoes, frisbees and slippers organized in a box behind the driver’s seat that fits whether the slide is in or out. I also picked up a narrow wooden dishrack from the Elks Thrift Store. The universe will provide.
Checked out several of the seafood restaurants and we returned to dine al fresco at the Bridgewater the next day. We had a couple glasses of wine and a delightful meal of oysters, mussels, clam, salad and salmon. The mussels are the best we’ve had since we traveled in Nova Scotia on the motorcycle many years ago. And the oysters!
Great people watching too!
The only excitement we had while at the Florence Elks was due to Astrid. Of course. While the other kitties have been going out on walks, properly harnessed up and on their leashes, Astrid hates the leash and refuses to come out if she has it on. We had the bus door propped open and were watching the other two while Jim played his ukulele. The next thing I knew, the crows in the trees right behind the bus were screeching up a storm! I had a feeling it was cat-related and I went back there to check it out. At first I didn’t see anything but then I saw a wild haired black kitty poke her face up out of the tall grass. The crows were alerting us to the fact that Astrid had escaped! That darn cat!
I scolded, “Astrid!” and she made a beeline for the bus. The couple next to us were outside and Astrid had to run past them to get to the bus. I wasn’t sure what she would do. Fortunately, she scampered into the bus and hasn’t been out since. She is always leashed up now though. Fool me once…
After that died down, a guy just appeared in the parking lot, carrying a gas can and obviously homeless. Matthew was polite and talkative and checked out the bus paint job extensively. He related to us because he considered himself a “traveler” like us, except he travels in his 1990 Dodge van, when he has gas, that is. He even offered us some 4:20; we graciously demurred. He didn’t ask us for money but I gave him $5 toward his gas fund, which he tried to refuse but I insisted. I almost always give a dollar or so to folks with a sign or on the street. The only time I haven’t lately was when we were exiting a grocery store. I saw the guy and his sign and started to get out my cash. Then I saw he had a tattoo. ON HIS FACE! Sorry bud. I am not against tattoos at all, but on your face? Come on!
Matthew had no visible ink. We wish him well on his journey.
Jim had heard many good things about AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon and we were close so we got an appointment and headed that way. He wanted to have the solar panels checked out as he suspected they weren’t doing much. Even though AM Solar couldn’t work on the bus until fall, Jim figured if he got an evaluation and parts list, he could do the work himself over the winter. We parked in their lovely lot by the river and settled in for the night. Another couple was there and the gentleman was walking his kitty, Umi, on a leash! Umi liked people but not other animals. She let me pet her but the next day when Carmella was out too, Umi was not happy to meet another kitty. She got scooped up, never to be seen again.
We had a lovely spot on a scenic bend of the Willamette river.
After getting the evaluation completed and the estimate ($5000!) we headed for Eugene, where they have an extensive system of bike trails. We got a spot at the Elks and it was literally right next to the trail. Our view from the bus. I did an iPad painting too.
We spent the next day getting in a 20 mile riding fix through the wetlands and in the town. Which has bike lanes on every street! And a whole system of separate paths.
Eugene is a college town, University of Oregon is there and the neighborhoods are filled with gardens and interesting stuff.
This woman had an incredible garden.
And this cool 1968 VW van. Owner has had it for 12 years. Thinks about selling once in a while. Told him he would be sorry. He had a big friendly fluffy kitty too.
We only got in one day of riding in Eugene as we headed to Roseburg to get the oil changed and the brakes adjusted. We stayed at the fairgrounds the night before our very early appointment.
We got backed into the garage and the oil change went fine. Then Jim found out that the guy who was supposed to adjust the brakes was broken down in Montana. A no-show. So Jim said “I’m just going to adjust them myself.”
And he did. It always makes me a little nervous when “experts” work on the bus. Or house. Or car. “Is everything back together? Tightened up?” I know it seems ridiculous but we’ve heard the horror stories and I trust Jim more than anybody to do it right. He has mad skillz.
After a heads-up from a friend, we are taking a break for a few days just west of where we got the solar done at a secluded park deep in the Oregon woods. From here we will investigate the Row River Trail along the beautiful Row River between Cottage Grove and Dorena. There are several covered bridges on the trail and Lane County has more covered bridges than anywhere west of the Mississippi.
After that we are not sure if we will go back to the Oregon coast and travel north or go inland. I’m not sure I have eaten my share of oysters yet.
Ideas? Places to see?
More pictures on Flickr.