Sunday, May 22, 2011

Goodbye to Oregon! For now...

A seagull playing in the freshwater creek that spills into the Pacific on the Oregon coast, north of Newport. Copyright (c) 2011 Wendee Holtcamp

"Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain." - Mark Twain

I'm home now! In a couple days, I'll add some from my visit to my dad's Crackerbox palace (aka log cabin in the woods) and a few others from my trip to Portland. But for now, I wanted to post the final images from the Central Oregon coast. On the last day of our trip (Friday), we went on a truly crazy wild dune buggy ride at Sandland Adventures. The dune buggy ride at Sand Master Park had nothing on this one!

We met the dune buggy driver at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area which is technically part of the Siuslaw National Forest.

It was an absolutely beautiful area, with mountains and evergreen trees but with miles and miles of cafe-au-lait colored sand dunes - but we were told not to bring cameras or cell phones because if it gets lost in the sand, it's gone for good. And the dune buggy ride was like a roller coaster. We were strapped in tight and thank God for that! We went down several extremely high and steep dunes - the highest being a whopping 390 feet drop! I thought it was quite fun and it gave me butterflies but not everyone in our group was loving it!

Riding in the buggy up and around and down the dunes can be a massive adrenaline rush especially if you don't like heights or not being in control... And lack of control is an issue I have devoted the last few years overcoming and I can honestly say I am not really scared of flying anymore (though I had some mild trepidation before up in the helicopter the day before, I did it and was not scared!) - and I can also imagine that if the driver had pushed it just a little bit more, I probably would've been a bit scared. But I had a blast!

So, after almost dying (ha ha - just kidding) on the dune buggy ride, we headed to a much calmer experience in historic downtown Florence. We checked out this yummy bakery (which had a delicious gluten-free cheddar-dill scone) and then went to the Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters where I had a soy misto redeye, with Mexican chocolate...and then we wandered around a bit and shopped.

And while out, our fearless leader Rebecah decided she wanted to sit on some motorcycles of these guys who were on the street. So we did. And borrowed their jackets. I didn't get a shot of Rebecah but below are a couple pics of me and Eileen on our turn on the bikes. No, we didn't ride them!Me on the bike. I would never drive a motorcycle - too scary! I have ridden on several in the past, but couldn't do it on a regular basis. Drivers are just too careless...Would you?
One of Conde McCoullough's famous Oregon bridges - in downtown/Old town Florence. After this, we headed back to Newport where our cars were, but not before stopping in Yachats (pronounced Yah-hots) for lunch at the Green Salmon Cafe and Teahouse, a place recommended to me by one of my Twitter followers (follow me on Twitter here)! It was awesome! Here's their menu. I had the sustainable tuna melt, and this delish ginger coffee - called Kopi Jahe.
We took this silly hat photo at The Drift Inn restaurant in Yachats the night before - which had a really diverse menu and good food. The place had a quirky feel, which made me feel right at home! It had some info about the Oregon Country Fair, which naturally made me think of my brother! Anyway, after saying our goodbyes, we went our separate ways. My flight didn't leave until midnight, so I drove slowly back to Portland via the coast.
I decided to stop roadside and watch the ocean for a while. This spot just north of Newport is where I stopped, photographed, relaxed, journaled and listened to the waves.
These seagulls were all hanging out where the freshwater creek spilled into the ocean and after a bit of watching them I realized they were drinking the water. They were also splashing and bathing in it! I didn't know seagulls bathe in the freshwater, but they certainly did. Ya learn something new every day!
Another shot of the area - love these rounded river rocks.
And a view of a large piece of driftwood!
After staring for a while, I also noticed that there were these pillars of sand on top of the larger rocks in the creek bed. Pretty cool.The wave is chasing me! So, until next time... Which may not be too far away. I am taking my kiddos on a summer trip to California so my daughter can look at a few colleges and originally I was going to go to San Francisco and then drive south to L.A., now I'm thinking seriously of driving north to the Oregon coast instead and taking my kids to experience some of this awesomeness! I need to pitch some articles on the cool stuff I saw! The ones I'm leaning towards are sandboarding, the Rogue Brewery, and some family travel pieces. Oh and some culinary/food ideas. Oregon is big on farm to fork. And did you know that 99.9% of commercial hazelnuts come from Oregon? See now you have learned at least two new things today!

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