Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Remembering Sunshine......

Remember back in the summer when we were complaining that it was too hot?  Yeah, we shouldn't have done that.

October sucked in regards to weather and we broke records for high levels of rainfall.  November didn't shatter any records but, while it was drier than October, it was still quite wet. December can't seem to make up its mind.  Should it be 45˚F (7.2˚C) and rain, or maybe 32˚F (0˚C) and freezing rain or random snowflakes?

As I sit at my computer, the boss having sent me home at 1:30 pm worried about road conditions, it is slushing outside.  Not really snow, not quite hail, not quite rain, and it is adding up. The below photo was taken around 2:30 this afternoon through our living room window with my iPhone.

(Fiat in our driveway, an inch of slush will shut down the town)
All this wet weather hasn't been very motivating to hop on two wheels, but it does make us think fondly of that warm summer weather.

Back in August Troubadour and I didn't make big plans for our 20th wedding anniversary.  Not only did it fall mid-week while we were working, but we just couldn't think of anything grand to do with the summer heat.  Instead we chose to go play at the coast that Friday.  Not an overnighter just a day on the sand.

I never posted a blog about it so I thought I'd post about it now as I reflect fondly on the warm summer sun.


We left Corvallis and headed southwest along Highway 34 to the coast.  The pace wasn't very fast  since the ODOT was doing some seal coating/chip seal along the way.  We took the Fiat 500 so we could pack along picnic supplies, blankets, and the kites.

We arrived in Waldport on Highway 101 and turned south to Yachats to enjoy lunch at the Green Salmon Cafe.  One of the only places to get vegan eats in the land of seafood.  While most of it is assembled from prefab processed foods, at least it is an option.  We sat outside in the beautiful sunshine.  Not as warm at the coast compared to the heat of the valley.  I had the Tempeh Reuben sandwich while Troubadour partook of the Tofurkey Italian Sausage.  We may have purchased a few vegan danishes to go as well.

(My Tempeh Reuben sandwich - Green Salmon cafe, Yachats)

(Troubadour's Tofurkey Italian Sausage, Green Salmon Cafe, Yachats)
From Yachats we drove south on Highway 101 along the coast and stopped at one of our favorite little hideaway beaches.  The wind was up, but the sun was out, and the sand was warm on our bare feet.  Not too hot, and not too cold.

(Summertime at the Oregon Coast)
As we broke out the kites, the mist started to roll in, which made for some interesting pictures. Warm sand and a cool breeze was a good combination.

(Mist rolling in)

(Troubadour flying his kite)

(Even more mist rolling in)

(Hold on Troubadour)
While Troubadour was flying his kite I decided to explore the sea critters along the large rock closer to the water. The rock was covered in barnacles and mussels, and around the base at sand level were the sea anemones. Here is a link to a pdf guide titled Oregon's Rocky Intertidal Areas "tidepools" published by Oregon State Parks. LINK

(Looking down at the California mussels and Gooseneck Barnacles)

(Anemones, mussels, and Gooseneck barnacles)

(Anemones close until the tide comes in to conserve moisture)

(All different shades of green)
As the sun was blocked out by the mist, we started getting a little chilly from the wind and decided to head back to the car and check our guide book for hikes on the coast instead.

We discovered where there was a hiking trail to get to Heceta Head Lighthouse.  Heceta is pronounced "huh-see-tah".  You park on the side of the highway and hike a 2.6 mile round trip route (4.18 km) rather than driving further south and parking at the visitors center/State Park. Sounds good.  I can't count how many times we've driven down Highway 101 and never knew about it.

Heceta Head is located 13 miles north of the city of Florence.  Heceta Head is the most photographed of all of Oregon's 11 Lighthouses and was built in 1894. "Bricks for the tower were shipped from San Francisco to Florence and hauled over the hills on wagons.  The 2-ton Fresnel lens, with 640 delicate, hand-ground prisms was off-loaded onto the cape by surf boat."

You can visit all but one of Oregon's Lighthouses - the infamous Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, which is located 1.2 miles (1.9 km) offshore. LINK on more info on that one.

As we were getting out of the car I discovered my camera battery had died so the remaining pictures are all courtesy of Troubadour and his iPhone 4s.

(Trail to Heceta Head Lighthouse from Highway 101)

(Sunshine and mist filtering through the trees)

(Nature's pretty)
I never realized that there was such a hill climb between the highway and the ocean.  Up and up we climbed. There were even several sets of stairs.  It is quite damp and muddy in some areas and others where the sun would come through were dry.

(We always manage to find mushrooms on our hikes)
Here and there along the trail were spur trails leading to views of the Pacific Ocean.

(View of the Pacific Ocean north of Heceta Head Lighthouse)
After some huffing and puffing we caught our first view of the lighthouse.

(Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon)

(A zoomed in view)

(Down a path and we arrived at the lighthouse and oil shed)

(A view at the base of the lighthouse)

(A view of the Pacific Ocean from the lighthouse)
Unfortunately we arrived too late in the day to actually climb to the lens of the lighthouse.  From the lighthouse point we could look a little south towards the highway and visitor's center and the old caretakers cottage, rumored to be haunted.

(Old caretakers cottage and Highway 101 over Cape Creek Bridge)

(Cape Creek Bridge over Highway 101 opened in 1932)
We decided to walk towards the Visitor's Center and the Bed &Breakfast, which was actually one of the old caretaker's homes.

(Trobairitz and the caretakers cottage - there used to be two residences inside the fence)
From the cottage we could look back up the winding road to the lighthouse.

(Heceta Head Lighthouse viewed from caretakers cottage)

(A view showing the terrain to get to the lighthouse)

(The thistles were in full bloom along the road between the cottage and lighthouse)

(One last look at the lighthouse as we hiked 1.3 miles back to the car)

By the time we returned to the car our bodies informed us that we hadn't done near enough hiking this year.  Heading south into Florence we pondered whether to drive to Eugene for dinner.  Thinking of city traffic on a Friday night we opted to take Highway 36 around Triangle Lake. We stopped along the way for a picnic dinner and those vegan danishes from the Green Salmon for dessert.

We arrived home around 8:30 pm.  Tired but we'd had a good day.  Fond memories as I sit here and  look outside at the slush adding up.

- Au Revoir

" Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad." - Norm Papernick


  1. Hi Brandy,
    Belated congratulations on yours and Brad's wedding anniversary. That's quite some achievement in this day and age!

    Sounds like you have a caring boss and commiserations on the weather. It really does seem that mother Nature has got a whole less predictable all over the world. (like our recent earthquakes, and a bit of snow down south, despite it being early summer).

    You have such a fantastic eye for photography and it's a real privilege to see Oregon through your eyes. Very tempting location for one of our future wanderings!
    All the very best for the festive season to you both and may the weather be kind to you!

    1. Thanks Geoff. I managed to get to work this morning by 7 am only to find out our Circuit Court is closed for the day due to road conditions and no one else is coming into the office. Doh. Might as well work a little while I am here.

      I think the great photos were taken by Troubadour on his phone. He has a pretty good eye. Hugs to you and Jenny.

  2. Congrats on the milestone and nice that you got to enjoy a nice day out.

    The weather here still hasn't sorted itself out and we're supposed to be heading into summer...

    1. Thanks Andrew. I know we really shouldn't complain about the weather, but what else is there to do. It crossed my mind to ride the TW to coffee on Saturday but it is only supposed to be 26˚F (-3˚C) when we set out. This crap probably won't have melted by then either, sigh.

  3. I am no fan of seasons and I think this essay illustrates my belief perfectly.

    1. Makes hurricane season seem a little more appealing to us now.

  4. Happy anniversary Brandy. As above the sun through the tree's picture is just superb. Wish I knew how to take pics like that.

    1. Thank you. It really doesn't seem like 20 years.

      Check with Brad see if he has some tips on trees pictures. Wish I had of had the Canon camera as I wonder how clear they'd be. These were pretty good for an old iPhone though.

  5. Thank you for sharing such fabulous photos. As for the bad weather, we'll spring will be here soon!

    1. Says the man vacationing south of the winter weather..... thank you for the kind words. Come on Spring.......

  6. Great set of photos of this great outing.....liked the "sun streaming through the tree branches" shots. Thanks for the link to the story on "Terrible Tilly", quite the effort.

    1. Thanks Dom. Too bad there wasn't a bike in those photos right?

      Terrible Tilly certainly earned its name. Funny how it is a resting place for remains now and is privately owned. Could you imagine being a Caretaker on that rock back in the day?

  7. Thank you. Brad is pretty good at taking those tree shots. It was neat because you could see the sunbeams only because of the heavy mist blowing through. Looked way cooler in person.

  8. A day on the beach sounds like the best way to spend any anniversary, really. Belated congrats to your two-zero, Brandy.

    Current season didn't give us enough rain (the farmers are already complaining), maybe you'd want to send some our way. It had been foggy lately, and I tried to snap similar pics. But Brad's turned out way better.

    1. Thank you Sonja. We thought it was a nice day. As you know we are pretty low key and aren't into big fanfare or large celebrations.

      I'd love to send some rain your way - right after it warms up enough the ice finally melts from this week.

  9. Congrats on 20! It looks like you found a great place to celebrate. I liked Yachats. Small enough to have some real charm but large enough to have some nice restaurants.

    1. Thank you. Yachats is a neat little town with a surprising number of restaurants too for the size.

  10. Why is it that pics of the Oregon Coast don't make me feel any warmer? Because I'm always freezing at the coast. :)
    Really, it looks like a lovely road trip, and a very nice day. I love the sun coming through the trees. Gorgeous!

    I'm not much of a snow person, but snow would be preferable to this icy crap we have now. (Perhaps Corvallis had more snow that us?) Curl up with the cat and a blanket and surf the latest info on that KLR would be my recommendation 😉

    1. Something tells me it isn't very warm at the coast this week. Sure wish it would warm up here, one more day I guess.

      Not a fan of this icy crap either, but it sure is pretty.

      They finally released $$ info on the Versys, about $1200 cheaper than the Honda CB500x. So now we wait until the dealers get them in for a real hands on comparison.

  11. Congratulations on 20 years! I hope Steve and I have that much time together.
    The photos are beautiful. I have a friend Leslie who is dying to touch a sea anemone. I'll have to share your post with her. I love the Pacific Coast, especially Nor Cal and Oregon. I would love to spend more time up that way when we get back on the road. We've talked about staying in California for the first year, but Oregon is so very close. . .
    I would love to ride that highway between the coast and Corvalis again. What a ride!
    I guess you've found the best way to deal with the cruddy weather. To dream of sunshine.
    The Rude Biker Chick