Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Highway 101’ category

The Oregon Coast

October 28, 2017

We drove north from Umpqua Lighthouse Campground to Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area. I had been there in July and liked it very much. It is a beautiful area with the creek running through and the river across the street. Little hills with changing leaf colors were shrouded with fog. Ducks, geese and egrets love this place, and why not? We didn’t see elk at the main viewing area, but I could have shot pictures of ducks and geese all morning, but driving to the north end, we found a surprising group of all bulls. Maybe the big bull has already kicked them out.

On the way back we stopped at a bakery with lots of cars parked outside. It was a happening little spot where people were lined up to get coffee and some of their many pastries, donuts and cookies.

As we came back through camp, we stopped at a Silver Streak trailer. A lady was outside, so we got out and chatted a bit. Martha was her name, and she was worried about finding a sports bar to watch the big game. “What game is that”? we asked. “The Ohio State/Notre Dame game”. She and Bob are from Ohio, but have been traveling west for a while. Bob’s brother gave him the trailer, which was produced for years by a former Airstream employee. We told them D&D Pub where we had gone the night before. They gave us a tour of the trailer, which was very cool.

Then we hooked up and headed south on 101. Although I had driven it the other direction in the summer, It was a different perspective in a different direction on a foggy day. It is an incredibly beautiful drive, and hard not to stop at every pull-over, picnic area or state park. Oregon has done a magnificent job of preserving the entire coast. We drove the Scenic Coastal Loop through Bandon, stopping for lunch where the Coquille River meets the ocean. Ducks were feeding frantically right in front of the trailer while geese and a kingfisher flew about. Seagulls sat and watched the happenings while a crashing surf pounded a jetty.

We stopped in beautiful places along the way. I love the scenery in misty fog. Harris Beach Campground in Brookings was surprisingly busy for this time of year. It was a weekend, and a pretty one at that. We found a nice site, but it was one of those days when I found it difficult to back into the spot without 19 maneuvers. Martha was just shaking her head. I decided I should go into town and get some wine. Fred Meyer grocery store had a great selection with good prices. A few other odds and ends and back to camp for dinner and a little reading.

 

AM Solar and Highway 101

October 27, 2017

The solar system has not been performing right since we had a power problem back in August. I called AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon and talked to a technician named Mitchell. We agreed the best way was to bring it in. I was delighted they could see me. I didn’t think it was a big problem, but it needed reprogramming. AM Solar is the leading center for solar, and I have read a lot of information on their website.

Mitchell met us at 9:00 and quickly reprogrammed some things. He was so quick, I couldn’t follow what he did, but he explained a lot of things, and I understand a few more things about how to manage the system. Mitchell and his team helped write the software that manages the system. He gave me his card saying I could call any time. Whew, what a nice, professional team they have, and so nice to have another contact when I need help!

We headed west to Highway 101 on the Oregon coast, stopping at the Visitor’s Center in Florence. We got some good information on the coast. Next door is a good seafood store where we got a great cup of clam chowder and some canned tuna. I wanted to go north to Hecela Lighthouse. It is such a gorgeous spot that I had quickly passed in July. A beautiful bridge was built in the 30’s in the Roman aqueduct design. A sea lion area is just around the corner, where we spotted some from the cliffs above.

Heading back south past Florence, we went to Umpqua Lighthouse Campground. Camp hosts, Liz and her husband, met us in front of the sign-in board, telling us the available sites. We chose a good site and went back up to pay. Liz gave us a lot of information about the area, including a bar in Winchester Bay that serves the best oysters around. They are farm-raised in Triangle Bay, washed by fresh Pacific waters every day. A beer and oysters sounded good, so off we went.

I ordered fried oysters and Martha Oysters Rockefeller, both of which were great. We were so lucky to find great company. The couple at the table behind us were Liz and Larry, farmers from Quincy, Washington. Liz was just a trip, telling all kinds of stories. Then Kent pulled up to the bar next to us and asked the very busy server/bartender/waitress to put on the world series game. Well, good company and conversation, good food and a good baseball game, what more can you ask for? Kent is a paramedic who travels around the state teaching courses. He had some good stories, particularly about dentists using Ketamine on drug users who were compromised. Liz talked about farming and corporate farming today. They come here frequently, and they also like Montana, going to different towns each time they go. She loves farmer’s markets as well as going to music events. They like to crab here. Although they hadn’t caught a lot, they caught enough to eat. “What more can you ask for? It’s just like farming”.

I had to have at least a little time to read my book, so we went back to camp thankful for another good day.

Lakeview to The Columbia River on 101

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I had about 5 1/2 hours to get to River’s End Campground across the Columbia River. Three days would have been better. At first I was in the mode of hitting the road and making time, but the road is more windy, up and down with one gorgeous overlook after another. It’s more like driving the Skyline Drive, but with more traffic and a little bigger road. Towns dot the coast, and then Newport is a big city. The picture of Hecta Lighthouse is not mine, but that was the view. I tried to stop, but I just couldn’t get it done. Then there was nowhere I could turn around. What a beautiful spot. My mind took the photograph, and it will forever be in there. This is a beautiful part of the Oregon coast, and I would love to drive it again with more time. Oh yea, and then there is the whole Washington coast I will miss, unless Martha and I come back this way.

Stopping at one beautiful overlook, I talked with a guy who is a landscaper and has lived in Oregon all his life. Looking down on a plateau, there was a high-end housing development overlooking the ocean. He said he takes care of those. Only when it frosts over is he out of work, but it doesn’t come often and doesn’t stay long. He surprised me when he said traffic is light right now, but wait till this weekend. Eclipse watchers are going to be swarming in.

This is a hard road to drive for a long time. The road is hard enough, along with the traffic, but you want to look at all the sites, and so do all the other drivers. I thought one car was going to run into the trailer as they were obviously distracted. They couldn’t have missed by much. I wanted to stop at every overlook, walk the beaches, explore the towns. I did go into a sporting goods store that had some great fishing gear. Talking to a nice kid about rods and reels for steelhead. It is unlikely I would use it, but Martha does want some fresh fish when she comes, and that will be when the salmon and steelhead will be running the rivers.

Finally I get to the great Columbia River. Sitting in traffic, I see the Astoria-Megler Bridge and about had a heart attack. Fortunately, there was construction on the bridge, so traffic was slow. It is 4.1 miles long, the highest part being 196’ at high tide. I will have to cross it two more times as I want to see Ft. Clatsop, Astoria and the Maritime Museum tomorrow.

On the other side, I pulled into River’s End Campground and RV Park at about 6:30. Cocktail hour was going on next to the office. Jean Sundet came over to greet me. She walked ahead and guided me into my campsite, then told me to get settled and come for a drink. I have never been greeted at a campground like this before. It is a beautiful, grassy area, with scattered big pine trees. People were laughing and telling stories, so I grabbed a glass of wine and went over. There were 20 or so people gathered around a huge tree stump that had been polished and smoothed into a perfect outdoor table. There were snacks and goodies, but I never got past the first five guys. Introducing myself to Mitch, Buzz, Dave, Tony and a couple of others whose names I can’t recall now. They have been coming here for 20 years or more. They come in April and leave in October. Well, they used to go back and forth to work, but now they just stay. I asked what they did. “Fish” they said in unison. Some fish in the ocean, mostly for salmon, while a couple of guys fish in the river for salmon. There was a discussion about which is easier, most saying the ocean is easier, but they also said the two guys who fish the river know how to get it done. They said to check out the river tomorrow, saying you can walk across on the boats. I marveled at how there are any salmon left, but they all said there are plenty. I asked about the health of sardines and anchovies. They said their lines are constantly twitching from all the sardines running. Whales come here to fill up. Mitch seemed sad to not be going out tomorrow, but he is meeting a commercial Tuna fisherman. He is going to buy 200 pounds of tuna. He will take it to a processor who will clean them. Then he will bring them back home and cut them up and can (glass really) them. Half of the 200 pounds is waste. Then he is splitting with a friend. Still, 50 pounds of Tuna is a lot! He buys it at $3.00/pound, but He said, “It’s not like that crap you buy in the store”.