Sunday, July 12, 2009

Driving Journey: Day 4: The Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is in my Top 3 list of most beautiful places in North America. For the first time ever, I drove it from south to north. As you'll see in the photos below, the weather was great at the start, but as I headed north it got increasingly colder and foggier. This is why I turned off soon after Lincoln City. Still a wonderful place to be though!

Here's the Pacific Reef Motel in Gold Beach.

I almost stepped on this little guy but thankfully avoided him.
About 5 miles north of Gold Beach I came across this beautiful vista.

So much of the Oregon Coast drive is full of surprises. Around Highway Marker Mile 315 I came across a pull-off and captured this vista looking south.

Looking northwest from the same location.

I then walked around a little hill and captured this shot looking north.
Not a bad place to live, eh?! I would LOVE to meet with the people who live here!

Quite a bit further north, in Florence, I quickly captured this building. Being much taller than any other building along the Coast, I've always been fascinated by its origins.

I didn't go on the official Sea Lion Caves tour but did stop to see these curious creatures.

You can now see how foggy it had become.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Driving Journey: Day 3: Gold Beach

34 miles north of the Oregon-California border is the lovely community of Gold Beach. I had last stayed here in December 2004 when I drove down to San Francisco. The night before I had actually checked Hotwire to see if there were any deals on the southern Oregon Coast but there were not. So I drove past a few hotels and decided upon the Pacific Reef. The lady at the check-in desk was super nice and really made me feel welcome.

The room I got wasn't as fancy as the other ones on my trip but was more than adequate.
The Pacific Reef lady also made a reservation for me at Spinner's Restaurant, which I had immensely enjoyed 4½ years before.
The beer was good and . . .
the dinner was even better! A great end to a verrrrry long day!

Driving Journey: Day 3: Brief Visit to California

To get from Cave Junction, Oregon to the Oregon Coast, the quickest way is to dip down into California.

It was fairly uneventful other than having to stop at the California Agricultural Inspection Station. When I told the woman there that the only thing organic I had was lots of Oregon beer, she laughed and then waved me through!
I thought about visiting Crescent City but I was tired so I bypassed it and headed directly back into Oregon.
When I finally reached the Coast, I was a little saddened to see all the fog. :-(

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Driving Journey: Day 3: Oregon Caves

30 miles down Hwy 199 from Grants Pass is a small community called Cave Junction. 20 miles east of that, much of it on a winding mountainous road is the Oregon Caves National Monument. I had visited here 25 years ago and was eager to see it again.

About a mile off of Hwy 199 I came across the oddest sight, a series of small fires burning in the grass right beside the road.

The underground (U/G) tour itself started off with an introduction from our tour guide, Jonathan. He was a good fellow and added a lot to the tour by talking about the legends of the Native people in the area. Apparently they viewed the underground as the place inhabited by the spirits of those who have left the world that we inhabit topside.
Considering that I use to work 6600' U/G going just 200' below surface is nothing but these caves were much more interesting than the tunnels in a production mine!

Tripods were not allowed on the tour so one could only take photos by using a flash or by holding the camera super still. Either approach does not effectively replicate what it really looks like to the human eye during the tour. But hopefully these photos will give you an approximation.

Just a rock structure and not a big bug!

About a century ago a professor took a bunch of students U/G and they recorded their visit on one of the rocks. Then over time dripping water with minerals covered over top of it, leaving what you see here.

These structures were both beautiful and spooky. Ain't nature amazing?!

These bear bones were found exactly in this spot and preserved for eternity.
Over an hour later, we returned to the surface. Note: I was the only one who didn't think to wear a jacket so the warm air was especially welcomed by me!