Monday, May 27, 2013

"Coasting" To The South

We've been driving both north and south from our Gold Beach base to do various activities and see specific things since first staying here a year ago, and in the three weeks we have been here so far this year. The Oregon coast is rugged and beautiful and you can easily enjoy it just driving up and down the coast. But we wanted very much for some some time now to go poking down every little side road off coastal 101 to see what there was to see away from the highway itself. We were given an absolutely amazing day over the Memorial Day weekend and we grabbed the opportunity to do the first of our discovery routes.

The mission: drive down each and every side road from Gold Beach south to Brookings- a stretch of coast about 30 miles long. From Turtle Rock to Whales Head. From Cape Sebastian to Harris Beach State Park. Check out every pull off with a small hiking trail. Check facilities of all state owned land in this stretch of which there are quite a few. In short- get to know the physical area really well. A fishing, clamming, musseling and beach combing scouting mission if you will, as well as a nature appreciation day.We spent the entire day at it. Most of the shots will be scenic in nature from distant vistas to close ups, although we did run into a festival of sorts when we got down to Brookings and there were a few activities there that seemed they needed a picture or two as well.

Slide Show: Coasting

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Around The Rogue

Here for two months, soooooo we can take our sweet time and really explore the area. Gold Beach has a number of "Cat Houses". NO NO NO - not houses of ill repute. These are literally cat houses at the base of the north jetty at the mouth of the Rogue River. They are unique to say the least. Cool cats welcome! Food and water available. Sort of a B&B for Miss Kitty.

Along the banks of the river, we collect myrtle (Oregon Bay) leaves for drying and wild dill and anise. Around the coast from the mouth of the river, we go musseling for beautiful blue mussels some of which we steam and eat, some of which we saute in white wine and garlic for immediate consumption, and some of which we steam then place in chili oil and smoke for an hour or so in our portable smoke house.

We also pick up and tote back to our site as much dry driftwood as we can carry each time we go out. Already we have had free campfires that would have cost us big time had we purchased the firewood- something I have a strict aversion to....

We've been fishing along the jetties and the spit between the north and south jetties with some good success and we have taken pictures of the spit from both sides of the mouth of the river.

One of the things you can count on is that the sea lions will be in the surf fishing along with you. That isn't a problem until the salmon start running at which time they are definitely salmon thieves! The salmon run has not begun in earnest because the lack of rain has allowed the water in the river to get too warm. That is what they say. Hard to believe as many of the days are completely socked in with heavy fog so that we are often in a mist- but that is different from steady rain and therein lies the problem.

There are frequently horse back riders coming through camp to go out to ride on the beach. Depending on the light on the beach, that provides a very beautiful and picturesque scene.

The natural beauty of the area is something to behold. We offer a slide show in support of the things mentioned in this report. In future posts we will be photographing the coast while exploring the "little roads" that veer off of the coastal route 101. Really looking forward to that!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Fishing Report

Mother's Day, 2013. Dickie called his mom first thing. He's really good like that! In fact I handed a sleeping Marilyn the phone so he could wake her up himself. Best way for a mom to wake up on a Mother's Day to be sure. I called my mother a short while later, and we had a nice long chat as well. Sent notes to my sister, whose three kids took her out buffet-ing the night before to celebrate. Not only was it Mother's Day for her, but her birthday as well!

But this is not a report about Mother's Day. This is a fishing report! We've been here 6 days. Blue Mussels- low tide harvest is a given- all you need to do is show up and pick and cut them off the coastal rocks at low water, clean and eat. We went a couple times ourselves and showed some other folks "the ropes." We've eaten some steamed fresh out of the water and smoked a couple batches in hot chili oil and vac-packed them up for later. We made our first trip to B Street Dock in Crescent City (Northern California) for a day on the crab dock. Thankfully we went with some friends Jim and Georgia and had a really good time....because there wasn't a single crab in sight. NEVER take a banana on a fishing trip? Superstition? All I know is we went all day without seeing a crab..... So the crab count stands at ZERO as of this report- a position that I assure you WILL NOT STAND even if I have to put on my dive gear and go down and grab those little boogers with my bare hands (not that I think it will come to that.) And fish- we have been surf fishing three times already. The first day I got four surf perch and Marilyn practiced her casting. The second time I got two more surfies and Marilyn continued to fine tune her casting skills. And today, on our third time out and on Mother's Day, she struck first with a really big one, then another and another. I caught up at three after a while and then we went into overtime where I managed to eek out one more as the "bite" was on the wane. I wound up with four to her three but in truth she owned the biggest fish of the day! Kudos! Surf fishing is not easy. But once you feel the bite, and set the hook successfully and real in a good fish through the surf- that is a good, no, a great feeling...and she did that all by herself AND took the fish off the hook and dropped it in the cooler. Game on!

In other activities to date, we dropped by a search and rescue training "op" on a cliff near our mussel locale, and took a few nice pictures of "Turtle Rock" and the immediate coastline at our campground which takes its name from the rock- no doubt you will see the turtle.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Welcoming Committee

We hit the coast of Oregon after traveling a roundabout trail down from Grants Pass. It was a nice ride on a lovely day. The first roadside pull-off we came upon, we pulled off for a few pictures and a nice deep breath of the fresh salt air. Always good to be back on the ocean. We got back on the road towards the campground but hadn't traveled more that another 10 or 15 minutes when my eye caught the telltale spray of a whale just outside the surf below us. We pulled over again and jumped out. Sure enough there was a whale right below us and he popped up a number of times for photo ops. Never showed his tale or blew again that I could catch, but the evidence is here for all to see. What a welcoming committee!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

River Park RV- Commentary

I'm not in the business of rating RV parks. Some are nice, some are OK, some are neither. But every once in a while you find something special and that's what we did this time around. We are backed right up to the Rogue River in Grants Pass, Oregon at River Park RV. The campground is small by many standards, but it is clean, quiet, nicely appointed with some unusual sculpture, and has an immediate intimacy upon arrival. The host was and is exceptional at accommodating whatever you need. We will be here only a total of three nights and I don't know whether or not we will have the occasion to be here again, but if we do, or if you are passing this way, you certainly will be happy with things here. Swim at the sand beach. Fish for salmon right behind your rig. Pet owners have a washer and dryer for pet blankets, etc. Who else has that? Sit under the giant shade trees and read a book by the river or just stroll the grounds like an outdoor art gallery.

And speaking of art....this piece is called "Obama and Biden." I will restrain myself from going all political on you and therefore I will not comment on this piece excepting to say if you look closely you will get a sense of how the local bird life feels about the dynamic duo. And who doesn't love birds?

And here, for you viewing edification, is a slide show from the campground:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jet-Boating Hellgate Canyon On The Rogue River

We are back in Oregon after a safe and fun but otherwise uneventful trip up from Arizona. Thanks be for that! Rather than going directly to the coast, this time we are taking a few days in Grants Pass in order to see more of this area and to ride the famous jet boats on the Rogue River from here down into Hellgate Canyon. Last year we rode the jet mail boats up stream from Gold Beach. This is a different run altogether. Much of the wildlife is the same, but the vegetation along the banks and the character of the river are quite different as you will see. We made this run on a Saturday, so lots of folks were out enjoying the gorgeous May weather that is rather unexpected it seems but much appreciated. What you won't see in this post are the spins and general soakings that the captain sees fit to do to keep you wide awake during the trip...because the camera had to go into hiding every time he got "cute" with the boat. But the scenery was very nice and I think there is a fair representation of that.

Captain Donnie was a real character. He had tons of one liners and even though some of the folks just nodded their heads like they were hanging on his every word, he in fact stated at the outset that he never allowed the truth to get in the way of a good story, so, for example, when he told us the turtles we stopped to see didn't like the cold weather in the winter and therefore migrated to Mexico before returning on May first, a lot of people just put on their "oh, really?" faces. Duh! But the laughter on  board was every bit as wonderful as the scenery, and the champagne brunch, included in the cost of the ride, and held at a tremendous cabin facility just above the canyon walls was off the charts delicious. I don't think anyone on board was anticipating such a classy meal in the wilderness. What fun! Let's get started.

Video clip- click the arrow to begin....

The launch dock:

Bald Eagles all along the river:

Running part of the lower canyon:

Fine dining in the wilderness: a gigantic tropical fruit plate, followed by biscuits and gravy (maybe the best I ever had), followed by scrambled eggs with bacon and sausage links- all served with fresh squeezed orange juice and a delightful bottle of champagne.

We started the post with a video clip of the jet boat coming to the dock. Lets end it with a clip of the running of the lower canyon.

Video arrow to "launch"

And here is a link to the rest of the photos from the trip if you'd like to see them. Despite my best efforts and those of my friends at Geeks ON Tour, the slide shows are still remaining elusive.
Hellgate Canyon album:

AH HAH! Think I figured out the puzzle with a little help (actually lots of help) from my friends. I'll leave the link up, but let's try the slide show again......Cross your fingers!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Visiting Sutter's Mill Site

A couple days were set aside to visit the old site of Sutter's Mill near Coloma, CA en route to Gold Beach Oregon for a two month gig. This site was a logging mill but they unexpectedly found gold pieces of gold in their mill chute which in turn led to the California gold rush. Discovered in 1848, created a boom town by late in the year 1848. In less than a year the easy gold was found and by "49" there was still a tremendous draw for miners but the actual gold at the Mill was on a down hill slide. So "The 49ers" spread out and found gold all over California....and you probably know the rest of the story.

On the day we visited the site which is now a state park, there were hundreds of school kids traipsing all over the place but the town sites were mostly closed. A few of the kids got a "panning experience" at one of the original sites but many were relegated to the stream that fed the mill. The former was "salted" with gold. The latter was pretty much void of gold in the surface layers that were allowed to be panned in the "hands and pans" rules of the river. Since we were there with our pans in hand we joined in the fun and helped some of the kids learn some panning skills. A good time was had by all.

The slide show feature still has not been returned to Blogger so selected still shots is all ya get. Sorry about that!