One Last Walk on Agate Beach…

…Before Heading Back to the Desert Oasis

We leave Port Orford in 2 days to return to Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Valley in Southern California.

As we scurry around saying goodbye to friends, sharing last meals, doing laundry, planning our 3 overnight stays, packing up the RV,  planning meals and buying groceries for the road… we take time out to breathe and take one of our favorite 3 mile walks to Paradise Point, down to and along Agate Beach to Tseriadun State Park, and back again to Camp Blanco RV Park.

Unlike me, I only snap a few selective photos to save and savor until next May.

Naked Ladies

These pink to white flowers, from the genus amaryllis, bloom before the leaves develop, hence the naked stems. Amaryllis belladonna is native to the Western Cape of South Africa but has naturalized in many Mediterranean climates throughout the world and is especially popular in California and Australia. Apparently, it also thrives in the seasonally moist soil of the Oregon Coast. Naked Ladies sprout from large bulbs, the size of a softball, and grow with the top of the bulb at the surface of the soil. (

These blooms just happen to be in the yard of another library volunteer, I happily discover as he and I exchange greetings!

Pampas Grass…

This weedy pampas grass, called Cortaderia jubata, has thin plumes held high above the leaves. It is not native to the South American plains but to the mountains of Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, and a more suitable name for it would be Andean plume grass. This invasive plant, supposedly introduced to the horticultural trade via France, has made its way to the coastal areas of the Pacific Coast.  (

As we reach the parking area of Paradise Point, these plumes, invasive or not, wave to us against a pure blue sky in pure innocence.

Ribbon Kelp… immaturely washed ashore…

Also called bull whip kelp, this seaweed is made up of a round hollow bulb, or air bladder, from which ribbon-like blades emerge. The air trapped in the bulb pulls the kelp up so that the blades float close to the surface and receive adequate sunlight. The blades or stipes of mature plants are shiny and leathery, while younger plants have thinner, shinier brown blades or stipes. The stipes are hollow tubes, up to 120 feet long. (

Their lower end, however, is a solid root-like structure that tenaciously clings to a rock on the bottom of the ocean. Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest Coast used this ribbon kelp to make fishing lines, nets, ropes, harpoon lines, and anchor lines. (

A driftwood sculpture…

A baby Sasquatch was here!

Agates, shells, and rocks we collect along the way…

See you next May, Port Orford!

The RV Goes to the Doctor

And Stays Overnight in the RV Hospital

The RV is just over 4-years-old now and has travelled over 32,000 miles.

Lots of little and not so little things have gone wrong and caused us concern and cost us a few pennies, like a seatbelt, a new door, 3 new locks, and 2 replaced slide toppers. We still need 2 new window screens, 2 puck lights, and 2 overhead lights that the manufacturer no longer makes.

So… We scheduled an appointment to get the lights and screens taken care of as well as an overall maintenance check on August 1st before heading to the Olympic Peninsula, Mt. Ranier, and Glacier National Park.

The nearest RV “doctor” is in Coos Bay, 50 miles north of Port Orford.

The RV needed new caulking which meant the old stuff had to be removed and replaced. The wrong sized puck lights were ordered so new ones had to be re-ordered. The overhead lights could not be replaced and Tony’s doesn’t do screens.

We made an appointment for September 17th hoping that the caulking and 2 puck lights would be an in-patient procedure and that our home would not have to stay overnight.

We spend the windy and wet day in Charleston, a quaint fishing village 8 miles from Coos Bay and North Bend.

Charleston is located just inside the entrance to the bay of Coos Bay. It is home to a large commercial fishing fleet and to some of the finest recreation and most beautiful scenery of the Northwest. (,  courtesy of Donna Smith

Cape Arago Highway leads to Shore Acres State Park…

Bastendorff Beach County Park…

Sunset Bay State Park…

And dead ends in a loop around Cape Arago State Park…

When we arrive at the tip of the loop, we attempt to walk out to the ocean view but are barely able to stand up! We are literally almost “blown away” by the wind. So, we lunch on the fish and chips special which includes a cup of chowder at Portside Restaurant in Charlestown.

The restaurant sends its own boats out to catch the fresh fish of the day.

Upon returning to Tony’s RV Service & Repair, we learn that the RV needs to spend the night. We can either drive back to Port Orford, 50 miles south, and return tomorrow or stay overnight in a motel.

We decide to find a room in Coos Bay instead of driving back and forth again.

The next morning we return to Charleston and revisit the Cape Arago Beach Loop. Much calmer now…

A whale arches it’s back.

And let’s off “steam”…

We have lunch at Sumin’s Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Coos Bay., courtesy of Jenae Lien

Absolutely DELICIOUS!

After lunch we pick up the RV, pay the $850 for labor and materials, and head back to Port Orford. Once again, the wrong sized puck lights were ordered. Maybe next summer we’ll finally get the right size and have these 2 lights replaced! Meanwhile we will head down to Thousand Palms, California on the 24th of September to volunteer as hosts again on the Coachella Valley Preserve.

The Coast with the Most

Volunteering in Port Orford

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Every Monday I take folks up to the top of the tower, aka lantern room, and explain the history of the Fresnel Lens continually operating in this historic lighthouse since December 20, 1887 when it was first lit.

The view from here is incredible…

On Thursday afternoons, Jeff is the cashier for the  Visitors’ Center…

Port Orford Library

This summer I assisted Cheryl, the Children’s Librarian with the summer programming. The theme was Outer Space in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the first time humankind walked on the moon.

Learning how to find which way is North…

Comparing the sizes of the planets…

Telling time with our sun clocks…

Making rockets…

The best part of Port Orford is the people!

Good Times in Port Orford

Fun, Friends, Food, Fishing, and a Fair…

The house of our good friends, Kenneth and Paulene…

The girls: Elmo, Big Bird, Fly Girl, and Paulene…

Paulene and I have a girls’ outing in Bandon…

A mini-golf tournament with Paulene, Faith, Allen, and Kenneth…

Sharing a meal…

Can you guess where these eggs came from?

The Ring Game, invented by Kenneth…

Kenneth takes Jeff fishing…

Celebrating Jeff’s 66th birthday…

When you purchase freshly frozen fish from the Food Co-op, you know when it was caught, how it was caught, by whom it was caught, and even the name of the vessel from which it was caught.

We always run into friends on Battle Rock Beach…

And finally, the second annual Street Fair organized by our  friends, Steve and Kathee Dahl. Unfortunately Jeff and I missed it this year because we spent August exploring Olympic National Park and Peninsula, Mt. Ranier, and Glacier National Park. Kathee is a local artist and Steve, Jeff and I volunteered at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse together last year.

This is the Best of Port Orford!

I’m F-A-L-L-L-L-L-L-I-NG

Multnomah Falls

Back in Oregon, we rest for a couple of days in Troutdale and revisit the Columbia Gorge before returning to Port Orford for several weeks and then heading down to Thousand Palms, California.

Today we head to Multnomah Falls, a 611-foot-tall double tiered cascade just off Interstate 84.

Millions of years ago, volcanoes, glaciers, floods, and the uplifting Cascade Mountains formed the Columbia River Gorge. Massive floods from the last Ice Age scoured out the Gorge, creating the Multnomah Falls which were literally left hanging there. (plaque at Falls)

As liquid basalt from volcanoes transformed into rock, the resulting rock formations were dependent upon their environment and cooling rate.  Three types of basalt can be found in the rock layers behind the Falls.

Pillow Basalt results from the encounter of basalt flows with water which causes immediate solidification and creates “bubbles” or “pillows” of various sized rocks. (plaque at Falls)

Entablature Basalt is the result of relatively fast cooling lava that fractures into irregular patterns and joints. (plaque at Falls)

Columnar Basalt forms when lava cools slowly and fractures to create 5-6-sided crystals. It is usually found underneath entabulature basalt. (plaque at Falls) The picture below shows examples of columnar basalt behind Latourell Falls in the Columbia Gorge.

The powerful cascading waters constantly erode the softer layers of rock below and behind the Multnomah Falls, creating a plunge pool and cave. The upper tier recedes faster than the lower falls.

A short walk from the parking area leads to the best view of the Falls.

Another several hundred feet up a paved trail takes you to Benson Bridge which spans the first tier’s misty base. Looking up you can see the full 542-foot height of the top tier. Looking down you overlook the 69-foot drop of the lower tier. (

Benson Bridge is named for Simon Benson, a Portland businessman who owned the Falls in the early 1900s. Upon his death he bequeathed the Falls to the City of Portland which later transferred ownership to the USDA Forest Service. (

A trail continues past the 45-foot-long bridge for another mile to ascend an elevation of another 785 feet to reach yet another incline 100 feet above the Falls. The trail then descends to an observation deck overlooking the edge of the Falls. (

This is as close as I could get to the falling water. There’s no view of the drop, so I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed. Gee, if I had known this before trudging up a mile of 14 switchbacks, I might have reconsidered the hike! Not really…

But our plan was to hike further for another .8 miles to visit 3 more falls before turning back.

This small cascade slightly upstream from the upper tier of the Falls is called Little Multnomah.

From the observation deck you get a bird’s eye view of the Columbia River and across from it, Washington State.

As we ascend the trail from the observation deck, I am fascinated by these tree roots.

Instead of heading back and returning to Benson Bridge and the base of the Falls, we continue along the southeast trail beyond.

We encounter these examples of Entablature Basalt rocks beside us as we walk along the trail. Relatively fast cooling lava fractures into irregular patterns and joints forming entablature basalt.

We cross the scenic Multnomah Creek.

We continue hiking parallel to the Creek.

We encounter Dutchman Falls, the colloquial name for this waterfall that dashes down a wide basalt ledge of Multnomah Creek. (


This is an interesting stretch on the trail.

After researching the name for Dutchman Falls, I discover that this precarious basalt overhang just upstream from the Falls is called Dutchman Tunnel.

Multnomah Creek washed out a large semicircular cave from underneath a lava flow. In 1915 trail builders constructed a stone-walled trail through this cave.

A plaque honoring Forest Service Ranger Albert Wiesendanger rests on a wall of the overhang.

Next, we arrive at Wiesendanger Falls named after Albert Wiesendanger who lived from 1893-1989. For more than 71 years he worked in professional forestry and fire prevention jobs that spanned a lifetime career.  Albert worked 39 years with the USDA Forest Service in the Portland, Oregon regional office and in the Mt. Hood National Forest. He then “retired” to another 32 years as executive secretary for Keep Oregon Green Association, a privately funded organization with the objective of preventing people-caused fires in this timber state. (

The trail ascends onto 4 switchbacks.  But first I turn around and take this picture.

Less than 10 minutes later we pass Ecola Falls.

According to, the most prominent feature of this waterfall is the ambiguity of its name. At first Ecola Falls were grouped with the downstream Wiesendanger Falls and listed as one waterfall, often called Double Falls. Later publications listed Ecola as Hidden Falls because of it’s hard to see position and the fact that the Forest Service had recently placed a plaque marking Wiesendanger Falls by name in the late 1990s. Today the Forest Service officially recognizes these falls as Ecola, the Chinook word for whale.

We continue hiking along the Multnomah Creek.

We reach another switchback and these trail signs, after hiking more than .75 miles from the top of Multnomah Falls. It’s time to turn back.

The views on the way back…

As we return to the base of Multnomah Falls, I am half tempted to tell people that the best views of the Falls are from below.

As we make our final descent back to the viewing area at the base of the Multnomah Falls, I look up and capture the blue sky peeking through this umbrella of leaves branching off its trunk hugged by moss.

No Place to Stay

We plan to spend the night in Seaside, roughly 200 miles north of Winchester Bay. The last time we stayed in Seaside, 3 years ago, we stayed at Circle Creek RV Resort. Jeff called them several times and left messages, but no one ever called back so the only place with room for us was at Trucke’s 1 Stop, a gas station and RV Park. We reserved a spot, only to find out when we arrive, that for $35 a night in an open backyard we only have electricity. We need water too.

Back on the road, heading north, we ponder what to do. We stop by a few RV places and call others nearby, but everyone is full. One park had room, but our motorhome at 35 feet was too big.

So, we keep driving and calling and looking and stopping from Gearhart to Warrenton, to Astoria in Oregon to Megler to Chinook to Ilwaco in Washington. Nothing!

Finally I find a place in Ocean Park, Washington, the Ocean Park Resort Motel & RV Park. It’s a bit out of the way off of Highway 101 on the Long Beach peninsula between Cape Disappointment State Park and Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.

The woman on the phone couldn’t have been any sweeter if she was rolled in sugar!

Here we are crossing the Columbia River…

And here we are in Ocean Park, Washington, arriving at our overnight place.

Long Beach Peninsula

This arm of land in southwestern Washington is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Columbia River to the south, and Willapa Bay to the east and north. The peninsula is known for its 28 miles of continuous sand beaches, making it a popular vacation destination for people from Seattle, WA (165 miles away) and Portland, OR (115 miles away). (

The Chinook people first occupied the whole peninsula area. After European seafarers discovered the area, a fur trade arose. Later, pioneers arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River and by the 1830s an oyster trade began in Willapa Bay. Settlers soon followed. By 1850 there were permanent settlements around Willapa Bay. Oysterville soon dominated the northern area of the peninsula. (

Although tourism is now the principal industry… fishing, crabbing, oyster farming, and cranberry farming are major components of the local economy.

Ilwaco is a small fishing village located on the southern edge of the Long Beach Peninsula. It was the home to the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company,  a 3-foot narrow gauge railroad that ran for over 40 years  (1889-1930) from the Columbia River up the peninsula to Nahcotta on Willapa Bay. Unofficially known as the Clamshell Railroad, the only railroad that ran with the tides, it served tourists, residents, Willapa Bay shellfish growers, farmers, and loggers. ( and

Seaview was developed in the 1880s by Jonathan Stout, a cooper from Ohio, as a summer community for the gentry of Portland. (

Long Beach began as Tinkerville when Henry Harrison Tinker bought a land claim from Charles E. Reed in 1880 and platted the town. Incorporated in 1922 as Long Beach, the town boasts miles of beaches, a 1/2-mile-long dunes boardwalk, and an 8.5-mile paved coastal trail. It is the quintessential beach town with colorful shops, lodging, amusements, and recreation galore. ( and

Ocean Park was started as a Methodist church camp in 1883 in response to the raucous nature of Oysterville, about 10 miles north on the Long Beach Peninsula, by settlers convinced that a more religious environment was needed. (

Nahcotta is named for Chief Nahcati of the Chinook people. This small eastern fishing port was the end of the line for the Clamshell Railroad. (

Oysterville was first settled in 1841 by John Douglas who married a local Chinook woman. The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought settlers here to spend their gold on Willapa Bay oysters. Settlers and Chinooks filled schooners with oysters and shipped them to San Francisco. By 1854 Oyster Beach became Oysterville with a population of around 800. When the native oyster business came to an end, so did the town. Today it remains as a historical district preserving days gone by. (

Winchester Bay

After spending a lovely time at Shore Acres State Park, we head back to Tony’s RV Repair for some not so lovely news.

First of all, the wrong lights for replacement were ordered. Secondly all the seals on the RV will need replacing. So, we schedule an appointment for this 2-day process for September 16th when we are back in Port Orford. But wait, there’s more…

It’s not a “must do” yet, but the rollers under our 2 slide-outs are causing wear and tear on the underside of the slide. This will take 2 weeks to repair and cost thousands of dollars! Fortunately we have time to mull this dilemma over and perhaps get a second or third opinion.

So, we head to Shark Bites and eat some delicious fish tacos. The water they serve is flavored with fresh slices of lemons, limes, and oranges.

After completing our grocery shopping we return to Tony’s to hitch the tow and load the car. And off we go…

Winchester Bay… Salmon Harbor

About 20 miles north of Coos Bay is a small fishing village located near the mouth of the Umpqua River. The town of Winchester Bay sits on Salmon Harbor. We spend the night at Windy Cove County Park Just across from the harbor.

Cute restaurants…

A great place to get fresh tuna, salmon, and crab.

Chain-sawed carvings…

Besides fishing, ATVing is a popular sport as there is easy access to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.


A glimpse of the Umpqua River Lighthouse, the only one on the Oregon Coast that emits a red and white light…

The original lighthouse, built in 1857, was the first light on the Oregon Coast. Four years later, however, it started to succumb to erosion and by 1864 it was abandoned and dismantled.

A second Umpqua River Lighthouse was built farther inland on a headland above the mouth of the river and the lantern was lit on the last day of December 1984. (