Wednesday, July 7, 2010

OREGON TRIP 3 – DAY 2

This was to be my longest day and I was concerned about getting it all done. I had nine counties to cover and some remote territory along with some coast with lots of slow traffic. The plan was to angle southeast from Astoria to get some inland counties and then turn back out westward to hit Lincoln City and travel the coast south down to Port Orford. The motel breakfast wasn’t until 7:00 and I planned to be on the road long before then so I had taken a packet of instant oat meal and a banana from the motel office the evening before. Unfortunately, that morning I discovered it was plain unsweetened oat meal but slicing the banana into it made it edible.

I was on the road at 6:00 and again was thankful for no rain in Astoria. I knew leaving that early in that country I would have to keep alert for deer. And sure enough, those little black tailed deer were all over. I would blow my horn as soon as I saw one and that worked pretty well. However, just as I was coming out of a curve a couple went right into my path at the same time the sun hit me in the eyes. That was the only close encounter I had.

My first cache was in Washington County. It was called “Fuzzy Wuzzy” and was at the base of the moss covered tree you see in the picture. I was traveling in deep shady woods. As I went further into Washington, Tillamook and Yamhill Counties it became more and more remote. The narrow, twisty and bumpy tree covered roads not only had no speed limit or curve speed warning signs but eventually they didn’t even have lines. A time or two I was sure I could hear a couple of dueling banjos.

The first cache in Tillamook County was called “Bridge Creek Falls” which was an absolutely beautiful falls about a hundred yards or so up a trail from the road. The next one was at the top of an old boat slide that in the old days had been used to slide boats down to the creek. It was difficult to access as I had to bushwhack through some thick bushes to get to another access road.

My favorite cache in Yamhill County was called “Have Some Grass” because you had to go through some really tall grass to access it. However, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared and it was located in the crotch of a vine covered tree which was kind of neat.

As you probably know, in Oregon there is no self serve gas. Consequently you don’t find gas stations in every little community. In fact, some fairly well populated areas don’t have gas stations at all. In Polk County I was counting on getting gas in Willamenia which I felt certain would have a station. No such luck, and I was getting low on fuel. After inquiring about the nearest station I was told it was down the road at Spirit Mountain which is a big Indian casino. I skipped the first cache on my list because of my low fuel situation. The casino was in a big complex which was really nice so in addition to gassing up I ate my lunch there in the shade. Now I turned west toward the coast. The next cache was supposed to be on the way but it wasn’t there. I was getting a bit concerned because that left only one for Polk County. Fortunately, it was easily located in a hole bored in a post on the side of the highway.

Lincoln City was very busy with high traffic. The first cache was supposed to be at the Chamber of Commerce office with the hint being “at the corner”. I could not locate that cache at the corner where my GPS took me. Then the “Chamber Maid” came out and pointed me in the direction of the corner of a boardwalk outside the building where I did find the cache. The next one was at a beautiful little park that had a shady tennis court (reminding me of the old LCSC courts) and a covered picnic table and rest room. I needed to use the rest room but had to wait for a long line of kids who were there on some sort of outing. Meanwhile I found the cache which was in a water control box under some bushes.

Now onward south to Lane County. Traffic was slow and passing was interesting. The next cache was in Florence called “No Dogs Allowed” and was placed by a lady in honor of her departed geobuddy, a one eyed Lab. In my log I mentioned that I knew how meaningful a dog could be in one’s life and it was a shame they didn’t live longer. I got a reply from her in response to my log stating she knew I must be a dog owner. The other cache in Lane County was near the water in a big old leaning vine covered tree.

In Coos County the first cache was “Stopin' & Shopin' in Hauser”. It was at an old country store just off the highway. You know those old canisters with sand in the top that were used to extinguish cigarettes? Well, you had to lift the top part off that held the sand and the cache was down in the cylinder. The only way I found it was the hint, It’s not IN the sand. I stopped at the Gateway to the Bandon dunes for the next cache. The Bandon Dunes is a recreation area on the beach.

On to Curry County which is the southernmost one on the coast. Just north of Port Orford there was a little picnic type restaurant that specializes in hot dogs where this cache was located. There are grounds with picnic tables to eat your hot dogs and a sign that says “Bikers Welcome – Free Water”. They are open only through lunch time so I was far too late for a dog.

I arrived at the Sea Crest Motel in Port Orford, the most westward point in the U.S., about 7:00 pm

The Sea Crest is an old motel on a hill facing the ocean. Although old it appeared to be well kept. Every room has a beautiful view of the ocean. After getting settled I picked up a cache at the top of Deadly Street on the way to eat. I have never seen a street this long this steep. Slippery conditions or faulty brakes could have given this street its name. I had a pasta dinner at a café that was more than I could eat – and that’s a lot. After dinner I was in the motel lobby posting my caches on their computer until 10:00. When I hit the sack I was one tired puppy.

To be continued. M/W

3 comments:

Hallie said...

Did you stop in the town of Tillamook and enjoy some cheeses for free? I love the squeaky cheese (i.e. curd)!

Why did the lady have a cache called "No Dogs Allowed" in honor of her dog? That seems ironic. I would have thought a tribute cache would have been "Dogs Required" or something.

Mike said...

No, I had to head inland before I got to Tillamook so I missed the cheese factory.

The cache was in a hedge bordering a park under a sign reading "No Dogs Allowed". I guess it just made her think of her dog. I thought it was kind of strange too. ????

murray.warnock said...

Beautiful setting fro those falls.