Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Oregon Coast - Pacific City to Garibaldi, Oregon

This will be a fun week. We are headed to Garibaldi, Oregon. From there we'll take a day trip over the Cascades to Portland to pick up our grandson. He has spent his summer vacations from school traveling with us across much of the United States. He's been able to travel to 42 States and see things other kids his age only read about in books.  We love being able to provide him with this unique opportunity to experience different areas and cultures of this great nation.

Near the town of Neskowin the beach stretches out in front of us. The "lake" in the foreground is left after high tide recedes.

With water on both sides, this is probably the perfect campground. Blue skies and white sandy beaches...picture perfect!

Oregon's weather is diverse. You can have crystal blue skies and go around a turn in the road and discover spacious beaches but with what appears to be a marine layer. 

We diverted a bit because we wanted to visit Netarts Bay. We'd heard about the area but had bypassed it because it's a bit west of US 101. Coming across on Oregon 131 we spotted this weather pattern. Those are clouds hugging the mountainous terrain. I looked like an ocean wave just beginning it's break.

The fog/cloud formation continued down into the valley and stayed right on the ground enveloping the trees etc. but leaving clear blue skies above.

The town of Netarts sits along Netarts Bay which is Oregon's seventh largest bay. It is known for it's crabbing and clamming.

These are all pictures of Netarts Bay.  Cape Mears is over the mountain from the bay but the road was destroyed in a rainstorm and due to the sandstone makeup of the area efforts to rebuild the road continue to be delayed.

We arrived at the Port of Garibaldi and will be staying on a bayfront site at the Harborview RV Park. From here we plan on cutting across to Portland to pick up our grandson.

Welcome to big city Portland! We normally avoid big cities if possible because of the traffic. We weren't disappointed. Traffic stopped and we endured 30 minutes of bumper to bumper traffic heading to the airport.

Over the bridge and traffic simply stopped! We never passed any construction or accidents so who knows what the problem was. We got a little anxious as we didn't want to miss our grandson's plane arrival time.

Being in bumper to bumper traffic did allow us to get a great view of the City. Under different circumstances we might have enjoyed it more.

After some 35-50 tense minutes, we finally arrived at the Portland Airport. Fortunately the plane had already landed and we didn't have to park. All our worrying was for nothing.
Back over the cascades and back on the beach. Happy campers once again!

A carnivorous plant - Darlingtonia Californica

I must regress - Just north of the town of Florence, Oregon is a State Wayside dedicated to the Darlingtonia Californica, a plant also known as Cobra Lily. Little is know about this interesting plant but it grows in abundance in this area and the State of Oregon has built an interesting wayside in it's honor. If you're in the area, be sure to stop and wander among these plants. The are one of the few carnivorous plant species, feasting on insects. Unfortunately they are very particular to their environment and grow mainly in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Below are some pictures and more information which we received during our visit.

The Darlingtonia State Wayside is a botanical preserve that allows visitors to get up close and observe these interesting plants.  It is the only State Park property dedicated to a single plant species. The wayside if free and is only a very short walk from the parking area.

To protect the plants and yet allow visitors to view them, the State has built these walkways alongside but above the plants. The Cobra Lily thrive best in a bogs and prefer their roots to be colder than their stems. They trap and digest insects. It's range varies from sea level to 6,000 feet in elevation.

The plants flower in May and June with hanging blooms of yellow and red, and produce up to a dozen leaves per plant. The erect seed pods last most of the summer.

Insects are lured into the leaf opening under the hood by nectar on the colorful "petal like" appendages and edges of the openings. Once inside the hood, the insects are confused by the many transparent areas in the upper part of the leaves which appear as exits. The insects cannot keep a foothold on the glassy smooth upper surface of the tube and eventually slide down the tube into a pool of liquid at the base of the leaf. The captive is then digested and absorbed through the plants thin lower walls.

Hwy 101 Newport to Pacific City, Oregon

Hwy101 is a scenic mostly two lane paved road that hugs the steep cliffs of the Oregon Coast. Sprinkled along this spectacular hwy are many small towns and hamlets. Several tunnels and bridges along with bicycle riders sometimes make this hwy a challenge. We left Newport, Oregon and headed north. Our first stop was at the Devil's Punchbowl in Otter Rock, Oregon, just south of Depoe Bay. I'll try not to bore you too much  and just let you enjoy the pictures of this fabulous area...

If you're lucky enough to live on these craggy bluffs, you'll be able to experience the magnificent force of nature as the waves break over the face of the cliffs.

These cliffs are steep! Looking down over a field of daisies into the Pacific.

Talk about magnificent views. Look closely at the top of the picture...see that home up on the bluff. Think of the view they have everyday.

This is the Devil's Punchbowl. As the tide rises the ocean is funneled through the opening on the right. As it's forced into this "bowl" it picks up speed and swirls inside the bowl. During high tide it is spectacular.

As this picture shows, the outside of the Devil's Punchbowl is a "C" which further funnels the ocean through that small opening into the bowl. 

Meanwhile, further out in the ocean another phenomenon  is occurring. Look closer at this picture. This is off shore from the Devil's Punchbowl. With the rocks, the ocean floor and the movement of the tide, the waves begin to come at different angles. This wave action formed a huge whirlpool and awesome wave action.

Back on the road we continued north climbing up, over and around towards Otter Rock.

Here, from an overlook, you can see the town of Otter Rock. Established in 1913, it takes it's name from a large rock about 1/4 mile offshore.

We saw several beaches along this area favored by surfers. At 62 degrees F, wetsuits are a must. Compare that to the 80 degree water we experienced last year in the Atlantic.  Surfers will gladly trade the cold water for the wave action of the Pacific.

Our home for the next 8 days,  Pacific City, Oregon.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chitwood - A True Oregon Ghost Town

A short drive out U.S. 20 affords a step back in time. We traveled east a short ways from Newport to the town of Toledo. Further east we came to the town of Chitwood which is a true Oregon Ghost town. Once a thriving community of several hundred, all that is left is a covered bridge leading into the city.  Here are some pictures of Toledo, Chitwood and the surrounding area.

This is the bridge that carries traffic on U.S.101 into Newport over the Yaquina River.

I took this picture because I love the style and architecture of this home. I would have loved to tour the inside. I especially liked the large deck facing the ocean. It was off what appeared to be the master bedroom. Nice view to wake up to.

Welcome to Toledo, Oregon - Population: 3500

Established in 1866 during the homesteading of the west by James Graham and his son, John. Originally called Graham's Landing, it was later changed to Toledo after John Graham became homesick for his hometown, Toledo Ohio.

One of the many churches we saw in Toledo. I'm guessing this might have been where the exclamation, "Holy Toledo" came from.

Toledo was developed as a rail hub as evidenced by the numerous rail lines traversing the city. It's main industry is lumber and milling.

More evidence of the railroads' influence is found at the museum just off main street.

In 1918, the Port of Toledo leased land to the Spruce Production Company who built a sawmill on this site to build airplane frames for World War I. The war ended before production began. The mill changed hands and was used for lumber production using logs brought to Toledo by rail cars. In 1951, Georgia Pacific purchased the entire property and currently operates it as a pulp mill.

As the lumber is processed, the pulp is transferred to the shipping facility through a series of large pipes. It is then processed further into paper and related products.

A view of the Yaquina river which runs alongside the lumber mill. Logs were brought here by barge before the establishment of the railroad. Once the railroad arrived, moving logs by barge was neither cost nor time effective so it was discontinued.


A short drive east of Toledo we arrived at what was left of the town of Chitwood. The town was originally settled sometime in the 1860s. All the land had to be cleared to plant crops and build homes. Things moved slowly and it was not until 1887 before the first school house was built. The settlers planted some crops and tried their hand at mining but found that to be unproductive. What changed the town the most was the coming of the Corvalis and Eastern railroad, later known as Southern Pacific. Chitwood was established as a stopping point and began to prosper. However, the road to the coast was moved and paved and shortened the distance to the coastal communities. When automobiles and trucks became available they used the shorter route and rail service was discontinued.

That's yours truly sitting on the entry rail to the bridge. This bridge was constructed in 1926 when the people of Chitwood raised $300 for it's construction over the Yaquina River. Pepin's Grocery was located next to the bridge and operated until 1950 when it was destroyed by a fire. The bridge was also damaged by the same fire and became dilapidated. In 1979 it was placed on the National Registry of Historical Places. It was restored in 1984.

Eventually most of Chitwood has disappeared. The train depot was demolished, the grocery store burned to the ground and the general store fell apart. We walked around the area quite a bit and could find very little to indicate a settlement had ever been on that site. It simply appears Mother Nature has claimed her right to all that had been there.

The bridge stands as a remembrance of a town that once existed and is now a true ghost town. 

The train tracks still remain as a testament to what used to be.

Returning to Newport, we headed to the beach. Although the sky was overcast and it was cold, we wanted to do some beach combing and see what shells and/or treasures the ocean was willing to give up on this day.

The sky to the east was blue but to the west it looked grey and miserable. Taking that into consideration, I proceeded out into the water to get a picture of Debi and Jasmine with a better backdrop.

Jasmine loves the water, even salt water. She had been chasing some seagulls, (like she would really be able to catch them) when she found this rock protruding out of the water. I think she was playing "King of the Hill".
 Every hike is better if you stop and enjoy the flowers you find along the way.