Written by rufusni on 15 Nov, 2012
I stopped at the Steel Visitors Centre which is before you get to the rim coming in from the south. There are limited exhibits here but I watched two films - one on snowploughing and the second on the history of the park. The…Read More
I stopped at the Steel Visitors Centre which is before you get to the rim coming in from the south. There are limited exhibits here but I watched two films - one on snowploughing and the second on the history of the park. The snowploughing one is still quite relevant even at the beginning of July, as it takes four months to snowplough and clear all the roads in the park, so even now part of the rim drive is still closed, and there is plenty of snow in places. The other film told the history, Crater Lake was formed by the eruption of a volcano, Mount Mazama which is part of the Cascade range including Mt Saint Helens, Mount Shasta, Mt Rainier. But the eruption here caused a collapse of the mountain to form a caldera, or crater. This crater filled up with snow melt and precipation to form a lake- but there are no streams that run in and because of the high rim nothing can flow out, so that the lake maintains its level by precipation and evaporation. Its the deepest lake in the USA. There are stories from the local Indian tribes about the eruption, and it was a place of spiritual importance. Several groups of miners rediscoverd it in the 19th century. It became a national park through the persistance of William Gladstone Steeel in 1902.I drove up to rim village and my first view of the lake - the first view was a little disappointing - but it did get better. I walked around as far as the Lodge.There is also a Visitors Centre here, and an exhibition that is down steps below the rim. I went to the Rim Village cafe - it wasn't exciting so I decided just some coffee as I had supplies in the car, but it must have been one of the worst cups of coffee I've ever had. I drove back down to Mazama Village and check-in. I headed back up, and drove around the rim drive, well as far as Cloudcap, as the road was still closed here due to snow. There are lots of plenty of stopping points to lookout over the lake and enjoy the amazing views. There was still snow so it made it look really stunning and slightly magical. I drove back to Rim Village and found a quiet spot to watch the sunset - two deer got within 3 feet which was nice. The lake was lovely to watch in the changing evening light - but the cold and insects were bothering me, so I gave up on the sunset and retreated back to the car.I did however enjoy sunrise the next morning from Rim Village which was actully better given the direction. I had an early morning hike down the Cleetwood Trail before anyone else.Though I enjoyed my time at Crater Lake, I think I would spend a few days later in the summer and to be able to enjoy a few more hikes without all the snow, and to do the whole rim drive. I glad I only allowed for a short visit at this time of year as the snow reduced the options of what to do. But I would go back. The vies were incredible. While there were plenty of people at Rim Village, it was easy to get away from the crowds here, and enjoy the peace and silence that is reflected in the still blue waters of the lake. Close
Written by whenilk38 on 12 Jan, 2010
Leaving Portland on I-84, I got off at Troutdale, Exit 17, and drove over the Historic Columbia River Highway. It winds up to the top of the bluffs and then provides several viewpoints from the top. There are…Read More
Leaving Portland on I-84, I got off at Troutdale, Exit 17, and drove over the Historic Columbia River Highway. It winds up to the top of the bluffs and then provides several viewpoints from the top. There are two points in particular that you don't want to miss. The Portland Women's Forum State Park and Crown Point State Park. The highway up to Crown Point is scenic, and includes some sleepy towns and parks, but I was warned not to miss a large sign on the left side for the Portland Women's Forum. I found it and turned off into a short road and a parking lot. The view from there is perfect, and takes in a couple of large homes on the ridge, the Columbia River Gorge to the east, and the Vista House at Crown Point. If you miss it, you have missed one of the most scenic views of the gorge. If you come to Vista House without seeing Portland Women's Forum SP, it is worth turning around and retracing your route until you do find it. After the view at Portland Women's Forum, the next stop is at Vista House in Crown Point State Park. The house--not really a house at all, but rather a glass enclosed viewing tower on the promontory--is another great place to view the gorge, and it is sheltered from the weather that sometimes inhibits good viewing. I didn't go in the house, because I had other destinations in mind, but I did stop for a picture of it. Can we even imagine how Lewis and Clark felt coming down this beautiful river gorge after two years in the wilderness between St. Louis and the Pacific Ocean? It is a testament to the States of Oregon and Washington that they have prohibited any homes along the banks of the Columbia River. Even the two highways on both sides of the river are partially concealed by trees. Continuing along the Historic Columbia River highway, I eventually came back down the road through the forest with several state parks and waterfalls. Bridal Veil Falls and Horsetail Falls are the first ones, and are visible from the road without the hiking I had done the day before. Then comes the trail up to Wahkeenah and Fairy Falls and finally, the lodge house and Multnomah Falls. My second visit there was better than the first, because I didn't have to contend with the sun shining over the rim above. It was cloudy, so I was able to get great photos and I even walked up onto the bridge for even better views than I had the day before. I wish I could have stayed and explored even more, but I had a far destination for that night in Boise, Idaho. I also had plans to drive over another scenic highway near Baker City, Oregon. I was disappointed on the scenic byway that was shown on my Oregon map from Hilgard over to Starkey and then down to Granite and across to Baker City. It is called the Elkhorn Scenic Loop. It turned out to be a country road with not much scenery and a lot of potholes. The Elkhorn Mountains, for which the loop is named, were more like hills in my view. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, and it took over two hours to navigate the road back to the I-84 interchange at Baker City. I arrived at my motel in Nampa, and treated myself to another helping of fine food and hospitality at a Shari's Restaurant there. Close
Written by whenilk38 on 11 Jan, 2010
I stayed in Portland for two nights--kind of a resting up place, since it was the middle of my trip--but I did take an interesting drive while there. Interstate 84 goes along the Oregon side of the Columbia River…Read More
I stayed in Portland for two nights--kind of a resting up place, since it was the middle of my trip--but I did take an interesting drive while there. Interstate 84 goes along the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, and has numerous state parks, so I set out early Wednesday morning to explore the numerous attractions along the gorge. The parks feature some spectacular waterfalls. I had to hike up to a few of them, so I got good exercise, too. It was a four-mile round-trip, and all uphill for the first half. Whew! However, I did it all with frequent stops, and it was well worth the effort. A babbling brook was running alongside the trail. In some places, there were tree bridges, or rock steps across the stream. The water is spring-fed and very cold, so it kept the air along the path kind of cool too. The vegetation was lush and abundant. The trail was paved for the first half of the trek, with plenty of switchbacks, but then it became hardscrabble and an ankle twister. There were two waterfalls along the trail, Wahkeenah Falls, and Fairy Falls. The hike up to the top was 1.8 miles and the ascent was about 800 vertical feet, but it was worth every step. After hiking to the top and then back down the same trail, I drove over about two miles to the crowning gem of the waterfalls, Multnomah Falls. All three are beautiful, and Multnomah Falls is actually two separate falls, one of 542 feet and the second of 69 feet with a pool between them. It is the second highest waterfall west of the Mississippi, topped only by Yosemite Falls. After leaving Multnomah Falls, I took the loop road around Mount Hood. It was a much better drive than the one I took the prior day around Mount Rainier up in Washington. And I was able to get up close and personal with the mountain. Route 35 out of Hood River and route 26 near Government Camp provide many views of the mountain. The roads go partway up the sides, too, so the access is much better than at Mount Rainier. I arrived back at my hotel just in time for an early dinner at one of a chain of restaurants called Shari’s Restaurant. The restaurants are only located in the Northwest, unfortunately for me. The food was good and the prices were very reasonable, less than $10 for an excellent pot roast dinner complete with a free slice of rhubarb pie and a senior discount. I ate at Shari’s three times on this trip and loved the meals every time. Close
Written by Vanilla Sugar on 03 Nov, 2008
Florence is a beautiful little city on the central coast of Oregon. It’s #1 over Beaux Bridge, Louisiana and even outranks the Gaspé Peninsula.Florence has a population of just under 9,000 people. Of the people we have met, there’s one word that describes…Read More
Florence is a beautiful little city on the central coast of Oregon. It’s #1 over Beaux Bridge, Louisiana and even outranks the Gaspé Peninsula.Florence has a population of just under 9,000 people. Of the people we have met, there’s one word that describes them all – Friendly. Clerks greet you with a smile at the Safeway supermarket. Merchants at the Sportsman’s store will gab about fishing, clamming and the tides. And, the folks at BJ’s Ice Cream are patient as you sample the homemade flavors on tiny spoons before making a decision from the case full of ice cream choices. People don’t seem stressed out here. Maybe it’s the subliminal rhythm of the surf that keeps them happy, friendly, and nice to be around. I doubt they have soother noise machines in their homes playing ocean waves. It’s an inner soothing projected here, relaxed, and simply nice."I’ve always heard the Oregon Coast is one of the nicest places in the US," I had a well-traveled friend say when I called her on a Saturday afternoon. All I said was, "It’s true."Not everyone will have the opportunity to visit Florence, Oregon for as many days as Ed and me. So, I’d like to suggest to you several things that you can do in a five day visit. You just might fall in love with Florence too.Day 1: Explore the Oregon CoastExplore the Oregon Coast by traveling north on Highway 101. See the expanse of beaches and the rocky coast. You will be amazed. Scenery will take your breath away. No matter how many other beaches you’ve seen, no matter how many other beautiful sceneries have graced your eyes, you will, in fact, find the Oregon Coast to be magnificent. There are plenty of pull-offs for scenic overlooks. Make sure you buy an Oregon Pacific Coast Passport, because that will give you access to every little nook and cranny, every little park and I don’t think you should miss one. This is a multi-agency day-use pass that covers entry, vehicle parking, and day-use fees at all State and Federal sites along the Oregon Coast. Here are my picks to fill your first day:Cape Perpetua Scenic Area: (mile marker 166.9 on Hwy. 101, Yachats, OR) This is part of the Siuslaw National Forest, a 2,700 acre wonderland of old growth forest and trails with ocean views. The Visitors Center Theater is where you can learn about the gray whale population of the Pacific Ocean and other stories about nature through a series of films running throughout the day. Heceta Head Lighthouse: (mile marker 178.3 on Hwy. 101, 13 miles north of Florence) At Heceta Head Lighthouse, you’ll learn a little history, come to appreciate the life of a lighthouse keeper and all the different things that use to go on to keep boats and harbors safe. Volunteers conduct tours of this coastal lighthouse and the keeper’s house from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The beach here offers views of the rugged rocky coast line. Picnic tables invite you to sit awhile for a bring-your-own-lunch. At mile marker 179.0, you can capture your digital shot of the Heceta Head Lighthouse, noted as one of the most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. Day 2: Take a Boat Ride & Shop in Old TownFish Tales II: (Fish Tales Guide & Charter Service, LLC - Greg Helmer, Captain. Call 541-741-2136) Once you have seen the ocean vistas, you might want to get out on the water. Let Captain Helmer take you along the Siuslaw River, past sand dunes, coastal mansions, and across the sand bar to earn your rite of passage on the Pacific Ocean. You can do this and still be back on shore in time to visit Old Town Florence.Mo’s Restaurant: (1436 Bay St., Florence) Warm up with a bowl of Mo’s nationally famous clam chowder. It will fuel you for another favorite vacation activity – shopping. www.moschowder.comHistoric Old Town Florence: Art galleries, antiques, clothing and shoe shops, and specialty stores line both sides of Bay Street in Florence. So if you need a new pair of hiking boots like I did, head for On Your Feet to get a new pair of Merrell boots. Or, if you need a bedtime story, Books ‘N’ Bears has new and discounted used books to suit you. Go to BJ’s Ice Cream for some homemade ice cream and taffy. Then, stroll along the harbor. You might get lucky and see a tuna boat come in. Some folks buy whole tunas direct from the fishermen. But if you just want a taste of the best canned tuna, there’s a garage like shop on the dock that sells each can for $5. Take some home; you will be glad you did.Day 3: History & AttractionsSiuslaw Pioneer Museum: (273 Maple Street, Florence 541-997-7884) This museum features pictures and artifacts that tell the story of Florence and the Lower Siuslaw Region. Even if you are not a history buff, the Museum is worth a visit. Sea Lions Cave: (mile marker 179.3 on Hwy. 101) An elevator drops you to a short trail leading to the world’s largest sea cave and its resident inhabitants. Enjoy watching the sea lions frolic in the water, catch some little critters, nibble, play and flop around on each other. www.sealionscave.comDay 4: Ride the Dunes & Play the SlotsThe Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area extends from Florence to Coos Bay with many access points off Highway 101. You can watch others’ thrilling rides on the dunes or join the fun.Sand Dunes Frontier: (83960 Hwy.101 four miles south of Florence) Rent a Polaris Quad, Honda Odyssey, or Mini Rail for a scenic ride on the Oregon Dunes. You can climb the dunes that measure up to 500 feet in height. Then, you can follow the sand roads to the beach where an area more than two-miles long is designated for off-road vehicles. Three Rivers Casino & Hotel: (off Highway 126 east of Florence, 541-997-7529) Your adrenaline will already be pumping after running on the dunes, so keep the spirit going with a visit to the casino. Choose from 650 slots, black jack, roulette, craps, poker and keno all there for your amusement. Bingo games run on weekends. There’s a chance you could win a Dodge Viper by playing some of the select 2¢ slots. If gambling is not your thing, just grab a bit to eat at the steakhouse, deli, buffet, café, or sports bar & lounge.Day 5: Visit a Local Craftsman & Float on the Lazy Siltcoos River or Stretch your Legs Lakeshore Myrtlewood: (83530 Hwy. 101 south of Florence) Here is where you will find a large selection of Oregon Coast Myrtlewood products – bowls, cutting boards, ornaments, carvings – for your own home or gift giving. The lighted lighthouses are an exclusive item made in the adjoining woodworking shop. You can even ask for a tour of the shop to watch a skilled craftsman. www.lakeshoremyrtlewood.comSiltcoos Recreation Area: You have several options to explore the Siltcoos River, a lazy river – Class I paddle - that flows into the Pacific Ocean. If you prefer a water route, rent a kayak or canoe from the Siltcoos Lake Resort (541-997-3741) in Westlake. Then, paddle from Siltcoos Lake some 3 – 4 miles along the gentle river through forest, dunes, and salt marsh to the estuary and the Pacific Ocean. If you prefer a land route along the river, enter the Siltcoos Recreation Area via the Siltcoos Beach Road (mile marker 198.0 on Hwy. 101 south of Florence) and hike the Waxmyrtle Trail. It’s a 2.5 mile, moderately difficult trail. The trail takes you along the river’s edge then through some forest hills and finally to the mouth of the river where it spills to the Pacific Ocean. And a final option, if you just want to drive, is to follow the Siltcoos Beach Road east to the beach parking lot. There are several scenic views of the river along the way but the most spectacular view awaits you. Park your car at the Siltcoos Beach lot and climb the dune. You will be rewarded by a panoramic view – Pacific Ocean, Oregon Dunes, and lush green forests. Once you begin to savor the experiences in and around Florence, Oregon, there’s a chance five days won’t be enough for you either. You just might find that Florence stole your heart too! Close
Written by Vanilla Sugar on 24 Oct, 2008
Whoops? What’s a Whoops Trail?"It’s a go!" Ed called to me through the RV’s bedroom pocket door. "We need to be there by 11 AM."I’d been waiting for this day, watching the weather, and managing my calendar so when all the conditions aligned,…Read More
Whoops? What’s a Whoops Trail?"It’s a go!" Ed called to me through the RV’s bedroom pocket door. "We need to be there by 11 AM."I’d been waiting for this day, watching the weather, and managing my calendar so when all the conditions aligned, I’d be ready for this adventure. Today, we had a clear blue sky, no wind, no forecast for rain – perfect conditions for a scenic ride on the Oregon Dunes.Avery Duman, President of Torex ATV Rentals, reserved a red Yamaha Rhino for Ed and me. We tucked extra jackets and a day pack full of water and snacks in the back of the 4-seater then gave Avery our full attention. He thoroughly explained the mechanics of the ATV - high gear, low gear, gas pedal and the ever-so-important brakes. Ed was eager to take the wheel; but first, there was a waiver to sign in event we got hurt. Yes, we will promise to wear seatbelts. At the time that I nodded my head to this safety instruction, I had no idea my promise was so important.Next, Avery showed us a placemat sized laminated photo of the dunes. "I allow my ATV to run this area of the dunes." He pointed to two separate clusters of green trees which looked out of place among the landscape of the dunes. He called them North and South Islands. "Back here is the Forest Service sound buffer and private land. Do not venture there. I will lead you to the dunes and we will review this again out there." He traced a road on the map. "This is Chapman’s Sand Road. It goes to the ocean. It’s a whoops trail.""A whoops trail?" I puzzled trying to figure out what Avery meant. "It’s kind of bumpy," said Avery. "You’ll see."Later, I did but for now I just wanted to hit the dunes. Avery showed us how the little doors on the Rhino open and latch, then he added, "You can just hop over top of them. Most people do." I hopped over top and buckled my seatbelt. We were off following Avery down the paved driveway to the access road to the dunes. He zipped and we jerked along as Ed tried to find the right gear. I am glad I had that seatbelt. Avery stopped and waited for us to catch up to him. Along our route, he pointed to the string of low hanging plastic red, white and blue flags. "Turn there to return the ATV when you finish riding," he said above the sound of the engines. We nodded.Then, he took off riding his quad standing up, tipping it on a few curves onto two wheels. "Did you see that?" I punched Ed’s arm. I could tell by the gleeful look on Ed’s face that he’d try two-wheeling given the opportunity. He made the manly response, "I could take him." Avery led us along a sandy road through a shaded forest up a hill. The trees gave way to an open sky full of sunshine and expansive view of the dunes. This was a landscape like no other. We stopped for a long while high on a dune to take it all in – the mounds of sand, the big sky, the islands of trees, the view of the ocean. "Let’s head to the ocean," Ed suggested. Avery was fine with this but first he wanted to give us some landmarks. He showed us the real stuff, things we had already seen on his map of the dunes. "Do you see that windsock high in the pine trees?" he asked. "If you get disoriented, just look for it. The windsock hangs over the road back to the rental site."Avery said lots of people with rentals do get lost but we weren’t to worry. Just keep his cell phone number handy. He knew the dunes and had been riding them since he was a little kid. All he needed was a description of what we could see and he’d know how to find us or direct us back to his place. "Sometimes people really get off track and I get a call from the police telling me they have one of my rentals at the South Jetty, come get them," he added. Ed and I did not want to be one of those folks so I really paid attention to the scenery. Avery took off again in the lead, this time with more caution. We were riding on narrow crests of the dunes. One miscalculation or a slip of the tires could send the ATV sliding down a steep drop. Ed followed Avery’s tracks without mishap. As we neared the ocean, the dunes flattened and opened to a level plain of damp hardened sand crisscrossed with hundreds of quad, dirt bike and ATV tracks. "Here’s Chapman Road," Avery called and signaled for us to follow. We took the road slow with Avery close beside our ATV. He talked about the wildlife – deer, bears, coyotes, cougars, skunks, and possums. After passing an intersection for another sandy road – Hunter Sand Road, we picked-up the speed. The road ahead looked like a trail full of troughs. A better description might be speed bumps three times the size in a normal parking lot. Our ATV bounced as we went over the first few rollers. It bounced some more lifting me out of my seat again and again. My seat belt held me in the ATV but not in my seat. I was up high then down over and over. We rocked from side to side all the while bouncing some more. My head felt like an out of control bobble head wobbling. I wasn’t scared; this was fun! Laughing aloud fun! Ed just said one word, "Whoops!" Yep, we were on the Whoops Trail!Roller coaster aficionados will understand when I say this Whoops Trail felt like a ride on the Jack Rabbit at Pittsburgh’s Kennywood Park. You just feel like you will fly out of your seat, but you don’t because you are strapped in tight. What makes this Whoops ATV ride better is that it lasts longer and you can do it over and over again without standing in a long park line. Avery left us on our own when we reached the beach, checking again to be sure we had has phone number. We did. For hours, we cruised along the beach. When we had enough of the smooth, bump-free coast, we turned inland. We found some more Whoops Trails and rode them laughing aloud.The ATV was provided by Avery Duman, President of Torex, Inc. at Sand Dunes Frontier located at 83960 Highway 101 South, Florence, OR541-997-5363www.sanddunesfrontier.com Close
When I visit a new place, my curiosity draws me to the unusual. As if I am asking, "What is wrong with this picture?" I look around to check out my surroundings. This particular day, Ed and I ended up in Winchester Bay,…Read More
When I visit a new place, my curiosity draws me to the unusual. As if I am asking, "What is wrong with this picture?" I look around to check out my surroundings. This particular day, Ed and I ended up in Winchester Bay, an Oregon Coastal town with an active recreational fishing harbor. At the fish cleaning station, Ed engaged some Sunday sportsmen about their day’s catch. I averted my eyes from the gutting and filleting. That’s when I noticed it. I gave Ed’s jacket sleeve a tug, my signal to him that the fish cleaning station had no appeal to me and I was about to satisfy my own interests elsewhere. "It’s just a pile of oyster shells," I heard one of the fishermen say who had heard me wonder aloud asking no one in particular, "What is that?" I had already walked away. The closer I got, the bigger the pile appeared. I guessed it to be at least 15 feet high. It was, in fact, a mountain of oyster shells. Ed caught up to me. He found the peculiar stack of shells intriguing too. The shells, we learned, belonged to Umpqua Aquaculture, Inc., a business occupying the two story building next to the pile. We wandered inside. Pint and quart sized containers of fresh oysters set in a refrigerated case. A counter sign offered oyster shooters at $6.50 each. Shelves held rows of frying batter, cocktail sauces, and souvenirs of lighthouses painted on what else but oyster shells. We found a TV playing a continuous loop of a video. The short video was better than a tour guide. It explained how Umpqua Aquaculture propagates and nurtures oysters in a protected triangle of the harbor. They use a technique of suspending oysters on ropes so they never lay in the muck at the bottom of the sea. The narrator claimed this technique gives the oysters a better taste. When the oysters reach maturity, they are harvested and processed in a sterile room – the room behind us with a glass viewing window. Workers check the oysters in this room and make decisions about their processing. Some oysters remain in the shells to be shipped to markets. Others are shelled and sold on the premises or packaged for other retail sites. That explained the mountain of shells! Now, we needed to check out the oysters.JP, short for Jean Pierre, greeted us from behind the glass window of the oyster processing room. When he came around to the counter, he smiled a shy greeting from beneath his bushy dark mustache. He pulled three oysters of assorted size from the cooler of crushed ice – small, medium and large. Even though his fingers looks big and clumsy in the neon orange rubber gloves, JP’s hands worked like a surgeons’ as he wedged the sharp knife point between the crack of the oyster shell and pried it open. He lifted the soft oyster meat free then set it gently back of the half shell. He told us he could open hundreds in an hour just as we’d seen him do for us with these three in a quick minute. Ed didn’t wait for coaxing. He dabbed some cocktail sauce on the platter and dug in. "These are the best oysters I have ever had," Ed said in testimony as he downed the third oyster shooter. Later that afternoon, curious again, I climbed a rock jetty to get a better look at a section of beach called Salmon Harbor. To the south, a wide sandy beach and the Pacific Ocean stretched to the horizon. Turning north, I found the triangle of Umpqua Aquaculture’s oyster farm. A protective boundary of rocks broke the waves on its outer perimeter. Inside the triangle, the water lay calm. Pelicans and seagulls claimed solitary perches on the floating drums that held the rope suspended oysters. A boat anchored there set ready to hoist the matured oysters out of the water. Oysters that would eventually be shooters and shells that would add to the peculiar mountain of shells.October 19, 2008Umpqua Aquaculture, Inc.723 Ork Rock RoadWinchester Bay, OR 97467541-271-5684 Close
Written by btwood2 on 22 Oct, 2006
We took the Pendleton Underground Tour in 1989, during our first visit to Pendleton. At that time, I had no reason to doubt its veracity, and it was entertaining enough. We were led through a maze of basalt rock tunnels, through a card room, Chinese…Read More
We took the Pendleton Underground Tour in 1989, during our first visit to Pendleton. At that time, I had no reason to doubt its veracity, and it was entertaining enough. We were led through a maze of basalt rock tunnels, through a card room, Chinese laundry, ice cream parlor, and meat market. One year later, the tour expanded to include a Chinese jail, Chinese opium den, and "cozy rooms", an upstairs bordello. Our tour ended in a gift shop, with an unimpressive assortment of souvenirs.
Been there, done that. On our third visit to Pendleton in 2006, a brochure for the tour shows a pigtailed Chinese man smoking an opium pipe, with smoke wafting behind a cowboy, face shaded by his hat, holding a full-house hand of poker, and next to him, a supposed "lady of the night". At $10 for 90 minutes, no doubt they deliver what they promise – the tour, not the whore, that is: "a lively look into Pendleton’s infamous and entertaining past". But we’d been there, done that. We were ready for something less, uh, touristy.
Giving credit to the Man, I gotta say that my husband Bob found the real Pendleton underground, one that is happening today, and may be more like the historical underground than anyone wants to admit. For while I was off walking up and down along the Umatilla River, Bob bumped into a young man who was living in a historic riverside building, and as he loves to do, began to talk with him. Somehow the conversation led to discussion of Pendleton’s underground, and Neal (the young man), offered to show Bob his little portion of it.
Life under the sidewalk: Bob was taken down into the basement, which extended out underneath the sidewalk. Neal had been quite busy refurbishing this space, partly lighted by sunlight coming in through a sidewalk grate. Though having more of a funky-chic unfinished look what with uncovered pipes and fixtures suspended along the ceiling, the subterranean dwelling had quite a bit of character. Chairs, dinette and frig made up a kitchen area, alongside living area with trundle bed, easy chair, shelving, wall hangings, and aquarium, with matching fish mural painted in one corner wall, even a small workshop!
And if it rains? was my first question to Neal, when I arrived on the scene. Ingeniously, he’d placed a planter underneath the grates. I later learned that these sidewalk vaults as they’re called architecturally, were more often covered with cast iron panels fitted with clear or purplish glass lenses, to allow passage of light, but not rain, flood, or cold. Patented by Thaddeus Hyatt in 1845, and used in cities from East to West coasts, they were intended to provide safe, inexpensive daylight to increase the usability of basements. When they broke or deteriorated, however, they were more often covered up with asphalt or concrete sidewalk.
Crabby’s is another real underground business: saloon, steakhouse and dancehall, with their Hole in the Wall Kitchen. We ate lunch there years ago in 1989, and enjoyed huge hot mama burgers this time for dinner. One-third-pounders are smothered with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos, guacamole on the side, along with a mountain of crinkly fries.
Spin and Win: Descending the steps to Crabby’s you enter through a heavy, beat-up wooden meat-locker type door, and find yourself in a big dimly lit cave, with rough rock walls. There are several pool tables, bar and dining area, and beyond that, the dance floor. Midweek early evening to take advantage of Happy Hour, it was quiet with only a few other customers. Happy Hour means the bartender spins the Spin and Win wheel for you, with a chance the pointer will stop on half-off or quarter-off drinks or pitchers. No such luck for us; we paid full price. But it was a huge pitcher.
Underground city? Pendleton Underground Tours website states that underground tunnels, dug by the Chinese between 1870 and 1930, cover over 70 miles underneath Pendleton's historic district, and included living quarters, opium dens, and even a jail. Lack of historical documentation is attributed to the premise that no one wanted to talk about it. Undeniably there was a Chinese community in Pendleton in the late 1800’s, and undeniably prejudice and discrimination against the Chinese ran high. However…
A more likely reality is presented by Patricia Wegars, PhD, from the University of Idaho. Dr. Wegars has extensively researched Chinese history in the West, and has uncovered no evidence of such. In cities where Chinese owned or occupied buildings, they often utilized basements, sometimes partitioning them into smaller rooms. They also may have feared to venture out after dark due to the real threat of violence against them.
Written by lcampbell on 27 Aug, 2006
This ride was the first recommendation of a biking friend and also of the bike shop employee I talked to at Ashland/Rogue Valley Cycle Sport.Starting from town, I biked southeast on Siskiyou Boulevard, the main drag in town, to Highway 66 or Green Springs Highway.…Read More
This ride was the first recommendation of a biking friend and also of the bike shop employee I talked to at Ashland/Rogue Valley Cycle Sport.Starting from town, I biked southeast on Siskiyou Boulevard, the main drag in town, to Highway 66 or Green Springs Highway. First I crossed over the interstate and went through a busy area where I had to take care not to get hit by a car. But much to my relief, the way soon turned rural. I passed many signs for wineries and vineyards, and contemplated biking 53 miles while doing wine tasting. Nah… maybe not such a good idea. I pedaled on, enjoyed the rolling terrain – not too steep. Next I passed Emigrant Lake Recreation Area, a beautiful area with colorful paragliders circling in the blue sky.At mile point 9, I started to climb through Oak Savannah. Then, I climbed more. Then, I climbed more. Get the picture?? I climbed for about 9 miles. It was grueling, but I was able to grind my way up to a small café at the intersection of Green Springs Hwy and Hyatt Lake Road. I was very happy to have a snack and drink before heading on.Hyatt Lake Road is more sheltered by trees than the area I had been going through. Hyatt Lake and Howard Prairie Lake are both visible from the road, and cool breezes coming off the lakes were just what was needed to keep me going. The way again became rolling hills rather than the steady uphill grind I had been doing. The best part of this piece of road was at the end, just before the intersection with Dead Indian Hwy, when I got a surprise view of 9495-foot Mount McLoughlin. Gorgeous!!I turned left onto Dead Indian Memorial Hwy, expecting the downhill back to Ashland to immediately start. Unfortunately, first I had to climb about 4 miles to a ski area/pass. I told a little break there, and then bundled up for the downhill. Fantastic!! I didn’t pedal for miles and miles. The tight curves were a bit unnerving, and I had to brake, but what a rush!I highly recommend this ride for experienced bikers looking for that perfect 53-mile paved loop. There is a map that I purchased at the bike shop for $2.50 called the Jackson County Bicycle Map that covered this ride and others. Close
Written by btwood2 on 16 Aug, 2005
Sand blown by whipping wind stung my legs as I walked down to the Stonehenge-like edifices which were all that remained of portions of old railroad line built during Barview’s resort days in the early 1900’s. Constructed of wood, not stone, and rapidly deteriorating.…Read More
Sand blown by whipping wind stung my legs as I walked down to the Stonehenge-like edifices which were all that remained of portions of old railroad line built during Barview’s resort days in the early 1900’s. Constructed of wood, not stone, and rapidly deteriorating. We’d turned off to Barview on a whim; the "B" on the hill east of Highway 101 and store and houseboat on the corner tickled our curiosity. Houseboat? Yep, on dry land, a corner lot, brightly painted in white with blue trim, with a wooden deck built onto the side of it.
Barview Jetty Park: We drove down the road past a booth into a large campground. It’s a Tillamook County park, one of seven, we learned, after getting a paper from the lady in the booth. Plenty of spaces for RVs and tents, six restrooms with showers spread throughout the park, most of it sheltered behind the dunes. Cost, $15 per night for tent sites, $20-25 for RVs, $5 for hiker-biker sites. A few RV and bicycle camp spaces were out in the open by the jetty. For hardier souls apparently. Though it was a sunny day, the wind was fierce.
Barview Jetty was surprisingly busy. At least, it felt that way. Not that many people, but combined effects of birds and wind created lots of commotion. Some solitary people fishing braved the breeze; a family wandered by the skeletal wooden trestles and out onto the jetty. A sign on the fenced-off observation tower facing towards the water warned ROUGH BAR.
Jetties are a fact of life along the Oregon Coast at the mouths of rivers flowing into the ocean. The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) went on a jetty-building rampage in the late 19th Century, with the intent of reducing the hazards of ship navigation through river channels. Basically, what jetties do is extend the mouths of rivers further out into the sea, concentrating and accelerating water flow, scouring out sand and debris, making it less likely vessels will flounder on sand bars. Use caution when clambering around on jetty rocks though. Erosion and underlying currents, not to mention the sheer slipperiness of the rocks when wet, makes walking on jetties potentially dangerous.
The wooden posts that had formed the base of a railroad trestle were sticking up, out and akimbo along the shore. They formed an awkward contrast to the massive swirls of driftwood lying elegantly here and there among the sand and rocks nearby. Some simply look majestic in their size, but others are twisted into tortured evocative curls that stir the imagination. No wonder artists get inspired to give nature a hand with driftwood creations.
Gazing north over the wind-sculpted dunes out over the ocean, I spied Twin Rocks faintly visible behind ocean spray and sand blow. We’d seen these two sea stacks from Rockaway Beach 4-5 miles upcoast. What are sea stacks? They’re composed of basalt, the result of pre-Ice Age volcanic eruptions issuing from great fissures of the ancient Columbia Plateau. This lava intruded into soft marine sediments at the mouth of the Columbia River, cooling and solidifying into hard basaltic rock, which remained buried for eons. With land lift over time, and Ice Age-caused erosion, more headlands formed and rocks became exposed, among them, Twin Rocks one mile south of Rockaway. Best views of this sea stack is turning oceanward on Minnehaha Street. I only became aware of this later when reading more about the area, otherwise we would certainly have done so.
Less than half a mile south of Barview, a traffic turnout and recently constructed trail will take you practically to within touching distance of The Three Graces. Also composed of basalt, there are actually more than three islets that protrude out of the ocean, especially at low tide. But the biggest three gave the formation its name, and the basalt cliffs on the land side of the highway is probably part of the same structure. The Graces have trees growing on them, the middle Grace a windblown, spindly but extremely tenacious cypress tree that’s managed to hold on over the years despite forces of wind and water. The other two Graces also are bedecked in shorter trees, foliage and mosses.
Cape Meares is the northernmost cape of Three Capes Scenic Route, above Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda. We took an abbreviated loop (about 20 miles), driving out to Cape Meares from Tillamook on Bayocean Road, and returning via Oceanside and Netarts, on Netarts Highway.…Read More
Cape Meares is the northernmost cape of Three Capes Scenic Route, above Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda. We took an abbreviated loop (about 20 miles), driving out to Cape Meares from Tillamook on Bayocean Road, and returning via Oceanside and Netarts, on Netarts Highway. Bayocean Road takes you right along the south edge of Tillamook Bay, with a few houses and cabins on shore, and log pilings offshore.
As the road curves south, it’s high up enough to view the five-mile-long, finger-like Bayocean Spit pointing north. Between 1910 and the 1930’s, Bayocean was a bustling resort, the intended "Atlantic City of the West", with two hotels, a natatorium, dance hall, and 1600 lots sold for homes. The Depression and Oregon’s fierce winter storms were too much for Bayocean. In the 1950s, most of the crumbling buildings were burned and bulldozed. Today, not a trace of it remains.
We took the turnoff to Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint and National Wildlife Refuge. In the covered welcome kiosk next to the parking lot, you can learn some of the reasons Cape Meares is so special. The diverse habitat of old growth forest adjacent to ocean makes it a precious haven for wildlife, birds, and plants. And then of course there’s the lighthouse.
Off the parking lot and along the path to the lighthouse are fully accessible wildlife refuge overlooks. Be sure to bring your binoculars. The steep rocky cliffs with small grassy ledges are nesting areas for the once endangered but now thriving peregrine falcon. Black orange-beaked oystercatchers can be viewed feeding on mussels, crabs and other mollusks along the rocky shoreline. Curiously, they are misnamed; they don’t eat oysters at all. Offshore, rocks are thick with common murre colonies.
Just as the path drops off, the very top of Cape Meares Lighthouse looks like you could walk right into the tower containing Fresnel lens, glowing red with afternoon sun. Standing at 217 feet above sea level, the lighthouse only needed to be 38 feet tall, the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon coast. Built in one year of iron, sheet metal, and locally made clay bricks, it’s eye a Paris-built First Order Fresnel lens shipped around the horn, Cape Meares Lighthouse began operating on New Years Day, 1890. Three keepers kept the kerosene lamps burning from sunset to sunrise every day. Keepers and their families lived isolated, self-sufficient lives. Tillamook was a 7 hour buckboard ride away, or an entire day by boat at high tide only.
With an automated beacon placed nearby, Cape Meares Lighthouse was decommissioned and closed in 1963. Soon afterwards, it was heavily vandalized and almost demolished, but area residents banded together to save it, and it became a state park in 1968. In 2003, the tower was fully repaired and reconstructed. Adjoining the lighthouse is an interpretive and souvenir shop, replica of the old workroom, which closes at 4 PM. You can’t help rooting for this spunky little lighthouse, so short and squat but determined to survive against great odds.
We returned to the parking lot via the southern path, which offers stunning views of Three Arch Rocks in the ocean and Short Beach, above which homes are perched on the cliffs. Three Arch Rocks is a group of picturesque rocks and islets rich in birds and a stellar sea lion colony. Birdlife includes common murres and puffins, guillemots, and three different kinds of cormorants. A popular sport on Sundays at the turn of the century was chartering a boat to shoot nesting seabirds on Three Arch Rocks. Naturalist photographers William Finley and Herman Bohlman were instrumental in getting legislation passed that stopped this slaughter and led to the establishment of Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, these rocks support the largest nesting colony of murres south of Alaska, and sea lions use the rocks as a breeding ground. No humans allowed!
Yet another wonder of nature grows a short hike southeast of the parking lot: the Octopus Tree. Held sacred by local indigenous peoples, this unusual Sitka spruce did not put its growth energy into a straight single trunk, but instead sent six limbs out symmetrically sideways and upwards to grow candelabra-like. (Sextopus Tree? I think not.) Each limb-trunk is at least 12 feet around, and the base of the entire tree has a 50 foot circumference. The scientific explanation for this phenomenon holds that the combination of strong coastal winds and sheltered hollow of its location caused this type of growth. Many old Sitka spruce share similar weather and wind conditions to this, but still grow single trunks. I choose to believe the tree is indeed sacred. Lucky enough to walk around it alone, it really does have a magical feel and strong presence.