Oregon Dunes and Florence

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Exploring the coast, I drove north, stopping at a couple of recreation areas with campgrounds to see if they were full. I was pleased to see plenty of openings in these “drive up” campgrounds. Oregon Dunes Recreation Area had several very nice campgrounds. I did a mile hike through the marsh, then decided to see what the beach looked like. You could have a heart attack climbing to the top of the dune, but from there the views were wonderful. I have never seen such beaches. They are so big and pristine. It must have been low tide because there was probably 500 yards of flat beach. It was 60 degrees with a little breeze, so even if the water was warm, you probably wouldn’t swim. The water is not warm. I walked in the surf a while. It is lovely, soft, yellow sand, and you could walk forever. With three full campgrounds, there were maybe 10 people on the beach. The water is a bit like walking in a trout stream, not the coldest trout stream, but not the warmest either. In Port Oxford, the water temperature today is 53 degrees. The temperature in the Rogue River was 47, and you couldn’t really swim in that. You could take a quick dip on the day it was 112 degrees, but you wouldn’t swim. So 53 is more tolerable, but you wouldn’t stay in long. A wet suit would be good.

Oregon has incredible beaches though, unspoiled miles and miles of beaches. There are stops, pullovers, recreation areas, hiking trails and state parks all along 101. It’s fun to explore without the camper so you can dash in and out of these areas.

I didn’t pack a lunch today, thinking I would stop somewhere for lunch. As I entered Florence, that’s what I was thinking. I also needed a library and a few groceries. With a quick search of restaurants on my phone, I chose Lovejoy’s Restaurant and Tea Room, and it was a winner. I love a British meat pie, and they had a great lamb pie, some pea soup and a pot of tea. What more could you want on a cool, misty day? I took a walk around this lovely, restored old part of the town along the riverfront.

I walked down the docks and found six people crabbing. Just listening to the chatter was entertaining, but the real entertainment was a rather elegant-looking lady, maybe 60 with kind of tattered clothes and fingernails that had been digging in the dirt a lot. I think her name was Barbara. She talked about the blue crabs of Virginia, but they suffer from pollution now. The ones in California have the same problem. “No, this is the last place they are clean and healthy”, she said. She had just bought a house built in the 70”s and was fixing it up gradually, doing a lot of landscaping. She talked about working somewhere for long hours, but she was almost done. I wanted to ask what she did, as I imagined it to be something important, but she didn’t stop talking long enough. Then she was back onto the crabs, everyone pulling up their wire baskets with chicken in them. Two had crabs in them – big crabs. They measured with a device made for the job and threw one back. A couple sitting on buckets at the end, said they wanted to get a boat to fish out of. Barbara said they needed a Mackenzie drift boat, and went on about its merits. Then they were back on the crabs. “Well, the peak has been about 1:00 to 2:00”, Barbara said. The man standing to the right agreed, but noted the tides change every day, so it is likely to be an hour later today. I could have pulled up a chair for entertainment for the rest of the day, but there is so much to see.

I poked around all the cute little shops Martha would love. Flowers and hanging baskets line the streets. By 1:00 the streets were busy with tourists like me. I don’t know what the rest of the town looks like, but I love this part of it. Two ladies in a kitchen store agreed it is a great place to live, but said they got a lot of rain last winter. The Pacific keeps a moderate climate, cool in the summer and in the 40’s in winter. I could feel the mist and light rain on my face as I walked about town, but I like it. I much prefer that to 95 degrees and sunny. I bought a little something for Martha and some fruit at a stand, and decided to head back.

An engine warning came on as soon as I started the truck. Then it said it would have reduced power. Ah yes, that little dangling cord I had noticed and tried to plug back in, but couldn’t. I crawled under the truck with a flashlight to try to see where it plugs in. There were two dangling wire ends, so after some examination, I stuffed them into the ends of the plastic connector. I started driving, but as the warning said, I had greatly reduced power. Time to use this OnStar button. A nice lady answered and put me through to a technician. I could hear his children in the background, and I could barely understand him. He ran some sort of diagnostics, then advised me to take it to a GMC dealer. I thanked him profusely. It was 5:00 and Ken Ware GMC in North Bend closed at 6:00. it was only 38 miles away, but I didn’t think I could make it with this reduced power. I called to see if they could help. Very nice people! A technician named Jim recommended taking it to Les Schwab Tires in Florence, saying they are great and helpful people. I limped through town on 101 to Les Schwab, and Jim was right. They took me right in, crawled under the truck to see the problem. They do tires, so this wasn’t their specialty, but one of the guys had a truck like mine, so we crawled under his truck to see how it was connected. We were in the right ball game, but my plastic connector was shot. Consulting with two of his coworkers, they pulled the truck in, got underneath and connected the wire ends, discarding the plastic connector. No charge! I went to a bakery, bought them some cookies and delivered them. Nice guys! Didn’t work though. I limped back to camp, a scary thing in the fog on 101. Down hill was great, and flats were OK, but uphill was slow, requiring my flashers as I went 20-30mph. I was quite relieved to finally pull into the campground.

  4 comments for “Oregon Dunes and Florence

  1. August 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I guess pulling the camper puts alot of stress on the truck. Tough as it is all it takes is one little thing to pop or drop and the truck limps. When you get back I would take it to the dealer and tell them all the problems you had and want another trock at no charge. It just ruined your vacation so much that Martha went home by air. Hey Might work!

    • August 19, 2017 at 7:44 am

      This truck is built to do much tougher jobs than pulling an Airstream. However, it is fairly low to the ground and on one of my gravel road expeditions, something must have grabbed it. There is so much technology on it, there is more stuff to go wrong. We’re back in order now.

  2. Mark Zablotsky
    August 18, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Are you coming down to Northern California?? Will you come visit Sacramento??? Spare bedroom waiting for you guys!!! If you’re working your way down the coast there’s a Air museum close to where you are. We missed it for our trailer trip in May, but heard it is amazing. Let me know, as I’m mostly home for the next couple months (got a couple weekend trips, but otherwise chilling). All the best,

    • August 19, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Hi Mark. I’m in Vancouver to pick up Kelly. Then we are fishing in BC for 3 weeks. Then Martha comes out to meet me in Boise, and I am going wherever she says. I did send her the special rates at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite, but we will probably visit Idaho, Washington, and I know she wants to spend some time in Vancouver. I would love to spend some time on Vancouver Island, but it’s all up to her. If we get anywhere close to you, we will definitely give you a call. Can’t believe you aren’t going anywhere for the next couple of months!
      All the best,

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