Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sixes


Since our arrival at Cape Blanco back on September 3rd we have wanted to hike down to the beach near the lighthouse to see the tide pools at low tide.  Tuesday was the day we decided to take the plunge.

 Found a little sea life


We left on our open ended adventure around Noon:thirty, and of course, we hiked over to the Coast Trail (takes you down to the beach) via the Cape Trail, which we use every time we work at the lighthouse.


This bit of large driftwood had the uncanny resemblance to a dinosaur bone yard.....what do you think?


Our original intent was to just spend some time at the tide pools and then hike back the way we came, but on the spur of the moment we decided to hike north along the beach to the mouth of the Sixes River.



With clear skies and a light breeze it was the perfect day to just stroll along the beach talking, enjoying our environment and each other.


Eventually we came even with the outlet of the Sixes River and decided once again to change our plan.  From talking with Chris and Cherie, as well as Paul and Nina, we knew there was a trail leading from the beach up to the Coast Trail, and sure enough we were able to find it.....we decided to make our walk a large "loop" and take the Coast Trail up to the top of the bluffs, back to the main highway, and then back to the Newell.

 Sixes River above, and the trail we found below


In all we were gone a little over 3 hours and covered just over 5 miles.....TLE found a few things along the beach she couldn't do without.....a cool, yet small piece of driftwood, and some agate.


After arriving back at the coach we spent some time outside in the lounge chairs cooling down from our hike before heading back inside around 4 as the outside air began to cool.  We spent the rest of the afternoon reading with a nap for me thrown in for good measure.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Single track state of mind......

 As of Monday we had been in Cape Blanco 12 days, and neither of us had ridden a bike one inch.  Well Monday was my day to ride......I spent Sunday morning getting my mountain bike ready to ride in anticipation of  being off work Monday.  There are a lot of "single track" trails all over Cape Blanco.....we walk one of them to work (Cape Trail).  I was determined to spend a couple of hours exploring some of them.

The weather first thing Monday morning was cold, damp and breezy so I got out my winter riding clothes and then set out to do some exploration.  The first trail I chose to explore was actually the paved road that goes by our host site, and then down the hill to the beach.  The road descends quite abruptly and is about 1/4 mile long averaging about a 7-8% grade.  Within seconds I was at the turn around, took a couple of pictures and then began the climb to the top.


 At the bottom.....that road is steep!

At the top I took a left and picked up the Cape Trail to ride over to the lighthouse......as I came out of the forest I was hit with a blast of cold wind which made me happy I had on my winter riding duds.  Since I have walked this trail multiple times I was familiar with it, and it actually rides better than it walks......a lot of this section of trail is uneven and lumpy requiring that you look down continuously as you walk to avoid stumbling.....riding it on a full suspension bike takes all the lumpiness out of it.  

After making the turn around at the lighthouse  re-entered the trail to ride back and then picked up the dirt road just past the host campsites to ride out to the main road and then turned left for a 1/4 mile where I turned right picking up the Coastal Trail......this was a new trail to me, and I loved it!  It winds along the bluffs overlooking the ocean weaving in and out of the forest finally ending at a scenic overlook. 

 The lighthouse is totally obscured by the fog bank

In all I covered about 9 miles, of which 7 were single track and/or dirt road, working up a good sweat over almost two hours of riding.  I passed up numerous other trails on my ride, and will definitely make a point of exploring them my next time out.  


Just after I arrived home TLE informed me she was going to drive into Port Orford to Ray's Food Place to pick up a few items she had forgotten when we were in Bandon Saturday, so while she headed out I took a shower, and then sat down to finish a good book I had started reading a week, or so ago.

As I read I would occasionally would look up to see the fog wafting through the trees as it rolled off the ocean to the sound of moisture from the fog dripping from the trees on to the aluminum roof of the Newell.  It was a perfect afternoon for being inside reading a good book while the electric heater hummed in the background.  

Just after TLE returned the skies began to clear and by late afternoon you could see the ocean and rocks just off the coast once again.  

Another thing I love (and don't we all) on these kinds of cold, blustery days is the smell of pastry baking in the oven......the items TLE drove into Port Ordord to buy were needed to make cranberry scones with the fresh cranberries we had purchased in Bandon at the Cranberry Roundup.  They turned out to be very tasty and I'm somewhat amazed I was able to resist eating more than 4 of them at one seating!  As they sat there on the kitchen counter cooling the aroma was almost overwhelming, but some how I resisted eating all of them.

Around 5 pm Greg, the ranger, knocked on our door with a couple of packages I had ordered from Amazon......one of them was the new Winegard Carryout G2 portable satellite dish.  I ordered it on Friday afternoon, and it was here all the way from Campbellsville, KY by Monday afternoon......amazing!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 15, 2014

"If you don't like the weather...."

After one day off we were back to "work" Sunday at the lighthouse serving our time in the "bottom shift" slot (12:30 pm to 4 pm).  The wind continued to be a non-factor early on, but then just before we began our walk along the "Cape Trail" the wind began to pick up from the southeast.  As "they" say in these parts......"if you don't like the weather get in your car and drive 5 miles....".....in our case....."put on your walking shoes and walk a mile...."

The fog bank being held at bay

Well, we did like the weather at our RV site, but it was time to walk to work, and as we approached the end of the "Cape Trail" you could see the fog rolling across the neck of the cape totally obscuring the lighthouse.  We transitioned from a sort of balmy day to  chilly, foggy conditions in less than a mile.  We had decided to wear shorts this day, and that choice worked out mainly because we were in the lighthouse all afternoon, and I was in the "lantern room".....the warmest spot at the lighthouse......in fact, because the wind was coming from the southeast it was actually warmer than normal, and I ended up taking off my jacket.  So there I was in sandals, shorts and a t-shirt while everyone else was bundled up including TLE.....when I came down from my perch at 3:30 she had the heater in the "work room" going full blast!

The fog rolling in as seen from my "perch"

video
A short video of the fog rolling in....

The last of our visitors exited the "lantern room" around 3:30 and TLE confirmed via two way radio that they were the last tour of the afternoon, so I began closing up and made my way down the 64 steps to the work room to help TLE finish putting things away, and then we began our walk home.

We arrived home in time for me to watch the end of the Bronco vs. Kansas City game in which Denver barely hung on to win 24-17......a much closer game than the score would indicate.  The Sunday night NFL game was every bit as good (Chicago vs. San Francisco), and was a nice cap to a great football weekend.

Around 5:30 TLE had me fire up the Sea-B-Que to grill some London Broil she had bought a while back.....the end result is seen below, and believe me when I say......"WOW!"...mashed potatoes, sauteed onions and mushrooms, spinach and London Broil....double "WOW!"


Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bandon, OR Cranberry Roundup!

Real Saturday dawned clear and calm.....yes, another basically windless sunny day at Cape Blanco.....it's tough duty, but someone's got to do it!  We were off "work" Saturday (we work again Sunday afternoon), so we decided to drive into Bandon to attend the annual Cranberry Roundup.  Prior to our arrival here in Cape Blanco I had no idea that Cranberries are a major crop in this area.


As we arrived on the southern outskirts of Bandon I was wondering how much time we could spend looking at Cranberries.  What we discovered just after we parked our car was that part of the Roundup is the "Cranberry Cruise-In Car Show"......now that was not expected!  One of the first "cars" we came across was probably one of the coolest Rat Rods I have ever seen.....it was built on a Studebaker chassis and powered by a straight 6 Cummins turbo diesel.






Next up was this tiny Mini Cooper with 10" wheels!  Then came the obligatory mid 60's white Thunderbird.....TLE and I talked about how we are kind of missing our 2002 Thunderbird just a little, but we are so happy with the VW as it really fits our lifestyle so much more!





One of my favorites was this, I believe, 1953 Ford Crestline convertible.......





Hudson 

 Mercury

We had purposely arrived around Noon time expecting to find a place to eat in Old Town, but as we walked around we found there just were not any tables available.....doh!  After visiting The Marketplace farmers market and finding that you could pretty much buy a thousand different products made from cranberries we wandered over to Foley's Irish Pub where we had stopped in for a beer a few days before.  We found a window table off in a corner where it was quiet and settled in for a leisurely lunch.  I ordered the Ninkasi Total Domination IPA and TLE the Ninkasi Wunderbier (both on tap).......both were very tasty!  I ordered the Fish 'n Chips and TLE the Pastrami.  TLE said her Pastrami was an "8" on a scale of 1-10....10 being the best she has ever had.  My 'Chips were in the same range.....of course Foley's gets a solid 4 stars on Yelp, so no surprise that we both loved our entrees.

Ninkasi Wunderbier on the left and 
Total Domination IPA on the right



After filling our tummies with great food we continued to walk around just enjoying the ambiance of the Festival until almost 3 pm before heading back to Cape Blanco.....after all, there was a big slate of college football games to watch!

It was a great day off, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time walking around Old Town Bandon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The "Art of Not Expecting"

I often talk about my former workaday life, and how my life today differs so much from it.  I was thinking this morning (yes I do that sometimes) how many expectations I placed on vacation time back then.  Of course, that was a direct result of trying to make every second of every vacation day memorable, and packed full of activity.  The result, in advance of the actual vacation, was extremely high expectations of not only the trip to and from the vacation destination, but of the actual vacation destination itself.  As one might imagine, this left me open to occasional disappointment......sometimes major disappointment as my best laid plans come off the proverbial tracks.

One of the most valuable benefits of this nomadic life is learning the "art of not expecting".......we are learning to just experience "what is" as it comes our way each day.  Not expecting allows you to enjoy the simple pleasures of life......walking to "work" along a woodland trail.....watching the sun set.......often.  You begin to realize that "life" is coming at you more slowly.....you relish the simple pleasure of standing on an ocean bluff, face into the wind, smelling the soporific salty ocean air, watching as waves break across rocky promontories in the ocean below....losing track of time itself.  You become more aware of the people in your life at any given time......what makes them tick, when they need a hug, when you need a hug.......when you just need to listen.  A more subtle awareness of the ebb and flow of life itself begins to pervade your being.  That is not just the magic of the nomadic life, but also the magic of this place called Cape Blanco.

Walking the Cape Trail to "work"

A rare "t-shirt day" at the Greeting Center

When you are not in a rush you have time to meet new people and listen to their interesting stories.  These folks lived just a few miles from here in October of 1962 when the Columbus Day storm hit this area.......there were sustained winds of over 150 mph, with gusts up to 184!  I talked with Art (on the right) for about 20 minutes about their experiences during that storm.  It's one thing to read about something like this, but to look into their eyes as they relate their experiences you can see it feels like it just happened to them yesterday.


Years ago a volunteer, just like us, painted this mural on the wall inside the "Greeting Center".  Each lighthouse along the southern coast of Oregon is depicted.  We have seen most of these lighthouses over the years, and the depictions are very accurate!


We finished our "bottom shift" at 1 pm, and were home by 1:25 where I promptly sat down and took a nap......there is something about the salt air of the ocean that makes me sleepy!  Around 3 I wandered out the trailer to finish working on Angie and Gary's beach cruisers......her bike needed a new rear tire installed, and the bottom bracket tightened up. Gary's just needed a basic tuneup.  Nevertheless, 3 hours just seemed to melt away, and suddenly it was after 6 pm.

Around 7 we walked down to the "phone booth" to watch the sunset one more time, and were treated to a wonderful sunset.  Chris and Cherie had arrived just a few minutes before us.....I have lost track of the number of sunsets we have shared with Chris and Cherie over the past 30 months since we first met them in Cedar Key, but it is a large number.

Chris and Cherie



I almost forgot to mention that while I was finishing up Angie and Gary's bikes Paul and Nina arrived at the trailer door bearing gifts........Paul presented me with a box of mostly 22 ounce bottles of local micro brews (all Stouts and Porters) as a "thank you" for the work I had done on their bikes.  These are the kinds of things that just make my day!

Thank you Paul and Nina....I saw this beer in the 
store the other day and wanted to try it!

Another wonderful day lived "not expecting"......thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Commuting


Back in my workaday life when I started dreaming about my work I knew it was time for a vacation......time to clear my head.  One of the things I dreamed about often when I was commuting 30 miles to my office was the actual "commute"......when I stopped commuting that 30 mile drive was taking close to 90 minutes.....that means I was averaging about 20 mph on the freeway!  "Stop and go" traffic on a freeway in Southern California is not a recipe for good mental health.  Ironically I awoke this morning in the middle of a dream where I was arguing with my boss at that job I used to commute to back in the 90's.....some 20 years ago......where did that come from?

Our commute to work here at Cape Blanco is 1.25 miles and it takes us 25 minutes to cover that distance on foot........this commute is definitely very good for one's mental health.....wouldn't you agree?  There are no accidents to circumvent, no smog, no smell of exhaust from too many vehicles in too small a geographical area, no honking horns, no road rage, no obscene gestures being directed at you.  There is just the sound of the ocean, the wind, sea birds and long views that not only clear the mind, but cleanse the soul.  You can hear yourself inhale that delicious salt air and almost feel its restorative effect taking place.

No traffic!

One of the perks of the nomadic life is your ability to spend a great deal of your time in rural America......if you choose to do so, and we choose to do so.  Whenever I get close to a major metropolitan area I can feel the tension begin to surge through every fiber of my being.  We choose rural America to spend our time in, but you may have a different way of expressing your nomadism.......it's all good as long as it works for you.  

We reported for work at 9:45 am for our "middle shift" duties.....we spent the first half of our shift at the lighthouse, and then after our 30 minute lunch, spent gazing at the Pacific Ocean, we took up our positions at the Greeting Center for the remainder of the afternoon.

TLE ready for another day at the office....

It was an unusually light wind day, and the afternoon saw very few visitors to our little slice of heaven.  By 4 pm when we locked the gate and began our commute home with Chris and Cherie the wind had picked up a bit, but it was nothing like the day before.

One of the things we both love about our RV site here at Cape Blanco is how QUIET it is at night.  In South Lake Tahoe there was this continual background noise of traffic, CalTrans doing road work, planes taking off and landing, and the odd siren from random emergeny vehicles......here there is just the quiet.....we love it.

That was Thursday......another "tough" day at the office.....NOT!  

Thanks for stopping by!