Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cottage Grove to Creswell to Florence, Oregon

The Azalea and Rhododendron were just blooming at Timber Valley in Sutherlin, Oregon.
 A beautiful stained glass logo for the Escapee park. A larger window of stained glass is also in the main meeting building.
This is perhaps the nicest Escapee park in the organization.  Large sites, less expensive state--no sales tax, and close to the coast, outdoor destinations like Crater Lake, National Forests, and great fishing, rafting rivers for just a start. This may be the most popular Escapee park also because of its ideal year round weather.
 From Sutherlin, it is an easy on ramp to Route 5 north and Cottage Grove.  This is a town noted for the covered bridges in the area.  There are scenic car routes and bike routes that cover a number of miles and bridges.  This bridge is the last remaining fully  covered railroad bridge this side of the Mississippi River. 
 In the later 1800's these bridges were carrying the timber that was and is in great supply in Oregon.  They were covered to protect from Oregon's wet climate.  For instance , we have seen about three weeks of mostly constant rain with a forecast of rain from now to at least next weekend.
 A large mural on the side of a building in downtown Cottage Grove.  The girl is Opal Whitely whose diary,The Story of Opal ,became famous in 1920 in the Atlantic Monthly.  She was a child prodigy and a naturalist who was capable of  memorizing and categorizing vast amounts of information on plants and animals.
 We stayed at the Village Green Resort , which is an older lodging well known for its gardens. It also has a very small RV park attached which gave us access to bike riding into town, or---if the weather had been better--30 miles or so of covered bridges. It also had a very nice lounge and restaurant that allowed us to have a very nice dinner and walk back to Lady Blue. We did bike into town for two of the bridges, a look at the downtown, and this interesting classic auto sales business. The above is a 1953 Chevrolet that reminded me of my first car, a 1951 Chevy two door deluxe model--two colors!!!.  I paid $100 for my 11 year old car. This 1953 is asking $12,900.
 A 1951 Ford pickup F100 -modified-about $35,000
 A 1941 Chevy-mostly original.
The owner indicated that a number of his sales are older 1920's cars that he ships to customers overseas.
 A great 1948 Mercury Convertible.  You can imagine it being driven by some film star in old Hollywood. To the right is a 1942 Chevy.
 And the last one, a 1950 2 door Ford coupe modified.
These are some of the cars we would see when we were kids.
And, since the styles were so unique, we all knew what the model and year might be for each.
 So, Uncle Clifton, this one was sitting on the rails in town with the circle that says "zero injuries" and the insignia "Central Oregon Pacific."
 From Cottage Grove it is a very short drive on Route 5 north to Creswell.  Here we stayed at Meadowlark campground.  This is a former KOA campground that is being renovated.  The spaces were very level, the laundromat clean, and the office quite helpful. Right nearby is King Estate Winery. We simply followed the main street out of Creswell west to Territorial Highway south for 2 miles. Above is the view as you approach the estate.
  We were enjoying our visit so much that we forgot to take pictures inside.  Our wine host was very informative and answered with great patience all of our questions about the vines, Oregon wine, the weather , and much more.
 In addition, there was a great restaurant right there.
Double click on the menu above to read.
Jan and I had the Daube of Beef, Rabbit Terrine, and Lamb Terrine.
The other choices looked quite tasty as well. Of course we had to also have that with their famous Backbone Pinot Noir.
For Backbone Pinot, check under "Vineyard Designate Wines"
The first column of "Explore the Estate" dropdown menu gives a lot of information. This is the beginning of our sampling of wines from the Willamette valley.
A view of some of the 1,000 plus acres on a very rainy day.

Like other vineyards, a large flock of sheep are charged with maintaining the grass.
Okay----Emilie and Madison--use your imagination.  How would this road be on a dark and stormy night?  How about if it were a foot path instead of a paved road? A little spooky!
 We had a great ride on the back roads . First on the same road west out of Creswell , right on Territorial Highway to Route 126 west above.
Of course, first we had to stop at a wonderful bakery in Creswell.  Delicious open apple pie, ciabatta bread, french loaf, and the very best meat pie. 
You really should click on the link above and scroll down to see what this small town bakery offers.  Note the owner was schooled at the Culinary Institute in New York.  We noticed that all the workers were in great moods, an all young group in their 30's and very helpful.  Highly recommended!
As we get closer to Florence on the coast, we note that we are following the Siuslaw River--after the tunnel, of course.
We decide on a Lane County Park campground, Harbor Vista. This is just north of town off Route 101.
The campground offers easy access to and great views of the meeting of Siuslaw River and Pacific Ocean
A great campground, we take a very private dry camping site.
  We had planned only a few days in this area, but a small dental problem extends our stay to 6 days--hopefully.
With the extra time , Jan and I take a ride into the old town area of Florence.  This is right on the Siuslaw River with shops and restaurants.
Luckily, this is one of the drier days.  We walk the small district and then decide to have a late lunch at Mo's Restaurant.  This was a very good choice that offered a waterside table with tasty New England Clam Chowder, Steamers--with some garlic and green onions, and Fish and Chips
 A lot of classic cars earlier in Cottage Grove, but this one in Florence is the all time classic by our estimation.
A 1957 Chevy Bel Air.
From the Old Town this is your view of the Siuslaw Bridge for Route 101.
 Some of the piles of oyster shells at Charleston.
The second day, we had plenty of time to drive south on Route 101 and retrace some our steps three years ago.  We drove south to Coos Bay and over to Charleston and Cape Arago.  We stayed here three years ago at Sunset Bay State Park.
On the way back , heading north, we stopped at Winchester Bay. There is a  good RV park here right on the water.  Beware though, there are some that are not so nice. Check your reviews for the top rated one. Winchester Bay RV Resort was one with great reviews and right on the water.
We decided to try a well rated small restaurant , Griff's on the Bay.
The restaurant was small, but we arrived at the end of their busy day with good available seating at the windows.
Jan had some tender , broiled fresh scallops and Bruce had fresh fish and chips with a local Deschutes Hop Slice Summer IPA.
The first time using a Facebook page for a restaurant. 
Let us know how that works for you.
 A view from the Jetty back towards Florence, Oregon.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

From Klamath River, California to Jedediah Smith Redwoods to Rogue River, Oregon and the North Umpqua River Valley

A northern view of the Klamath River entering the Pacific Ocean.  The river is on the far side , flowing from your left to right.
 Leaving Kamp Klamath, we had traveled a short way on Route 101 north to Requa and up about 600 plus feet for the first picture above. Following that we continued on Route 101 north to Crescent City.  This road was quite hilly and winding. But what was more concerning was the amount of slide damage from the recent storms.  There were a number of sections that were one lane only as crews were working to repair roads that had lost most of the underlying support.
 While waiting for the one lane signals we notice first the mural style painting on the back of the Class C in front.  Then we notice the license plate---Maine!!.  how about that.
 Crescent City is a small town on the northern coast of California.  When we headed in---to pick up a few groceries--we noticed that it might be a lot busier in the summer season.  As it was, there were a number of wind surfers in the 40 degree weather enjoying some strong winds.  We parked out by the water to have some fresh toasted bagel and cream cheese and a great view.
 This was our view, Battery Point Lighthouse.
 A short distance above Crescent City, we branch off on Route 199 which will eventually bring us to Grants Pass in Oregon.  Still in California though, we stop for a few nights in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. 
 Jan and I are treated to many Trillium , both white and this purple one.
 This will be our last section of giant redwood trees.
Always impressive.
 Yes, it is raining again.  Some of you know that we will often stay put in a campground and wait for sunshine, if it is raining.  But since Central California, we have had many more days of rain and very few days of sun.  Right now, we are averaging one day of sun for six days of rain.
 Besides------it makes the narrow, curvy,steep, drop-off-the-side Route 199 that much more interesting.
 Since it is raining---no solar charging today--, we decide to stop at Bridgeview RV Resort in Rogue River, Oregon, just past Grants Pass.  
Though the sites are close together, we have a view of the Rogue River.  The owners and campers we meet are quite friendly and helpful. If it had been sunny, we would have been staying 2 miles down the road(Route 5) at Valley of the Rogue State Park.  In a few weeks or so, there will be many kayakers and rafters on this river.
 A plus for our stay was being a short walk from La Guacamaya Mexican Restaurant.  We had stopped here two years ago in the middle of a bike ride from the state park.  Wonderful food. This time Jan had Huarache with shredded pork and I had Chimichunga-chicken.
This link will give you a little of the Yelp pictures and reviews.

From Bridgeview we head back a few miles to Grants Pass and the Fred Meyer grocery store.  These are always an eyeopener for us.  It is like a huge megastore with furniture, food, and more.  But the grocery section is something like a Market Basket to Whole Foods.  Wow!!
From there, we head north on Route 5 to exit 119, Route 42 west to Tenmile and the Girardet Wine Cellars, another Harvest Host.
 A pleasant, welcoming tasting room.
 Lady Blue is happy to rest amongst the vines again.
We are far enough north to notice that the vines are just beginning to bud.  This is a small vineyard, but still has a good supply of chardonnay, zinfandel, merlot, temperanillo and more. Two new names for us were Seyval Blanc and Baco Noir (their flagship wine). We had a great talk with Yvette, our host for the tasting, and Marc , the owner.  The following link should take you to the background story for Girardet.  We found it quite interesting.
And, of course, it rained again.
But---this time we are treated to a wonderful double rainbow.
A very short time, but, oh so bright!
From Girardet, we head back to Route 5 north to Sutherlin to pick up our mail--it's been about a month.  
Then we head back south a few miles to exit 125 west to Melrose and Melrose Vineyards.
This is a larger production with a very nice barn style tasting room.
Another Harvest Host, they were quite happy to have us as Harvest Host members.  Other Hosts have been welcoming as well, but this time we spent a good bit of time discussing RV travel with two of the Melrose staff.  Interesting also, that we had given a copy of our Escapee RV magazine to Yvette, our Girardet host who is interested in doing the RV life.
Lady Blue is quite comfortable in her parking spot.
Melrose does a lot of Event Planning--weddings, etc.
Lots of space to park and for catering or cooking on site, plus entertainment.
Not only a beautiful tasting room, but long distance views once the clouds lifted.
Melrose had a long list for tasting of about 14 different whites and reds.  New for us here was the Viognier white. The Riesling was also quite enjoyable and the Pinot Noirs.
These vineyards are part of the Umpqua Valley Wine Area.
This link goes to the Melrose website
A little more of the view with the distant mountains and the storage and bottling facility to the left.
From Melrose, we head into Roseburg and onto the Umpqua Scenic Highway , Route 138 east to Steamboat Inn.  This location used to be the North Umpqua Lodge, where names like Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey would gather for Fly Fishing and relaxing.
The above link will give you some good history of the area.
Just click on each section like "introduction"
The Cafe was open for brunch.
Jan and I ate in the dining room--a little to the left of this.
This is the Library where , in the busy weekends, guests can gather for drinks and appetizers before dinner.
The view is right down to the river.
Jan had a Strawberry/Rhubarb rollup with sour cream and I had Orange French Toast with cheese filling.
Nice hand made fly fishing lures.
A premier area for fly fishing. Note that miles of this river are limited to fly fishing only.
We saw many fly fishermen on our trip to Steamboat. There were at least two here(note the one on the river curve on the left).  The river is running quite well with the rain and the snow melt just beginning.  The river is noted for Steelhead Trout.
We head back to Sutherlin and our membership Escapee park Timber Valley.  Nice, large sites and entertainment from the local wild turkeys--with a few jackrabbits as well.