Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Geocaching and More Fun

One of the new adventures we tried with Bob & Kathy is a game call geocaching. The way you play it involves the Internet and a handheld GPS unit. You start by going to and entering in the zipcode where you're located. It brings up the caches that are close to you. There's currently about 300,000 caches around the US, so there's always something close to you no matter where you are. Now you're probably wondering, what's a cache? A lot of people compare it to a treasure hunt, but there really isn't much treasure. People will hide a small container, anywhere from a 35mm film canister to an ammo box, with a log and assorted trinkets. Then they will record the longitude and latitude and log it on You download the coordinates and load them into your GPS unit and go looking for the treasure. Believe or not, it's a lot of fun!

When we were with Bob & Kathy we looked for about 6 caches and found 5 of them. One we couldn't find. One of the trinkets we picked up was called a "travel bug". This is a special item that is tracked when it's picked up and where it's dropped off. We had picked up one called Tony the Tiger in Bellingham, WA, the mascot of frosted flakes. When we were in Florence we dropped him off. By recording it on we get emails when he moves. The last we heard he was in Louisville, KY.

We also went into Eugene one day, stopping at a few wineries, visiting a hazelnut farm, and having a great lunch in downtown. Eugene is still a smallish town with a lot of the back to earth type of population. On the evening of July 4, we went into the town of Florence to watch the fireworks over the river. We didn't get a very good spot to watch from. but we saw most of a good small town firework show.
We also went swimming in the nice pool, which had special adult only hours. After our hard days of hiking and sightseeing, we would go into the hot tub and relax. We also tried a new sport, pickleball. It's played on a smaller version of a tennis court, only you use wooden rackets and a wiffle ball. It's geared more to us older folks who don't like to chase missed balls. It's a lot of fun and I recommend everyone to try it. Every night we played games and talked about the sights we had seen that day. We barbecued, and cooked delicious healthy meals with Kathy's help.

While Bob & Kathy were at the campground they stayed in a Yurt. This is a canvas walled unit with a wood floor and a full kitchen and bathroom. And it's round. If you're interested in learning more about Yurts, click here:
It's great inexpensive way of getting a second or seasonal house that pretty efficient.
All to soon their visit came to an end and they left to go visit Bob's brother. We really had a great time and hope that we can do this again in the near future.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Another Day at the Oregon Coast

Does it get any better than lunch at the beach with fresh seafood and good friends!

We had lunch at the Sandpiper Inn, which is one of the few properties right on the beach in Oregon. The state of Oregon years ago did a very smart thing by declaring all of the coastline in Oregon is public, so there are many great state parks right on the beach instead of commerical development. That let's everyone have access, not just the rich and famous.

After lunch we went for a walk on the cliffs over the ocean. It was very beautiful. with many tidepools, and we walked off all of the food we ate.

As you can tell from this pictures the weather was fantastic! There's nothing better the Oregon coast on a clear day.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

We decided to head north next, to explore the area between Florence and Newport. The highlight of this area is the most photographed lighthouse in Oregon, Heceta Head. This lighthouse and the keepers house date back to 1894.

The lighthouse stands 205 above the ocean and the frensel lens sends it light out 21 miles at sea. It's the brightest light on the Oregon coast and it's still working. There's a path up from the beach to lighthouse where tours are given.
Since we're so fit we had no trouble walking up the path to the base of the lighthouse. Luckily we had to wait for the tour of the lighthouse itself so we could catch our breath. The lighthouse itself is 54' tall, and we climbed the circular staircase with ease. The view from the top was breathtaking. And the closeup view of the lens and light was interesting.

After we came down, and rested for an hour, someone was nice to take a picture of us.
We then went back down to the beach and explored the cove. We found some sea caves, saw some sea lions swimming in the cove close to the beach, and enjoyed to birds on the sea stacks. It was a great day.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Oregon Dunes

The first trip we did with Bob & Kathy was a dune buggy ride over the Oregon Dunes. The dune buggy was a converted school bus that held about 18 people. It didn't go flying over the dunes, but that was fine with us. As you can tell, it was a cool day and overcast, which Bob & Kathy appreciated after leaving 100 degree weather in Turlock.

The Oregon Dunes stretch along the coast from Florence in the north to Coos Bay in the south, about 40 miles. It's the largest area of coastal dunes in the North America. It provides great opportunities for off road vehicles to explore a large area without running over each other. Some of the dunes are 500' above sea level.

Here's some of the 4-wheelers having a great time on the dunes. Since it was the week of July 4, a lot of people were at the coast and you could hear the dune buggies from morning till night. Some of the people actually pulled their trailers out on the sand for camping. We would be afraid that our wheels would sink into the sand and we would have to be pulled out.

Our dune buggy trip took us along the beautiful ocean beach also. The driver narrated the drive and gave us some history of the area. It was a very enjoyable trip.