Summer Travel Map

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 13-26, 2012: Two weeks in Newport, Oregon

August 26, 2012
Pacific Shores RV Resort, Newport, Oregon

As always, please feel free to click on any picture to enlarge it...

Sometimes, you just can’t keep to a schedule.  We’d planned to be here for a week but ended up staying two.  That’s one of the wonderful things about our lifestyle.

We’ve stayed at this park before, back in 2006 according to me pre-Blog travel log.  It was one of a network of upscale developed under the “Outdoor Resorts of America” brand name, most with backing by upper-end motorhome manufacturers.  This park was developed by Marathon, one of the largest “converters”; they take Prevost Bus shells and make custom motorhomes for $1.5 million and up. I guess the theory was that their clientele needed a place to go with their expensive coaches.  They operate like condo associations, with lot owners buying their space and paying HOA dues for maintenance.  When the owners are away, the management company oversees rentals and the owners share in the proceeds, often making enough to cover their taxes and/or fees.

This was all good until the bottom fell out of the economy.  While Marathon survived, Outdoor Resorts didn’t.  Some of the parks floundered, some found new developers who bought for a song and finished development, and the remainder went through various bankruptcy proceedings and ended up being turned over to the HOAs.

Apparently, the court proceedings here were nasty and protracted.  The judge ruled against allowing short-term rentals and refused to release funds for maintenance.  Things went down hill pretty rapidly.

Fortunately for us, the bankruptcy issues were resolved and the park was back in business in early-August.  We found out on the Internet that they were back, so we booked a week’s stay at their reduced “winter rates” because so much of the park is in need of repair and refurbishing.  As it turned out, we ended up extending our stay.


The biggest thing we’ll remember about this stay is that we definitely beat the heat that’s been plaguing much of the country!  It’s been downright chilly; we’ve needed sweatshirts and long pants, and I needed to put the heat on a couple of mornings to “take the chill off”.  The site we were assigned has a custom glass-paned wind break.  Unfortunately, we found that it causes more "wind swirl" than shelter, but that may be due to the direction and velocity of the winds!

The first week was also cloudy and foggy with temperatures in the 50s, and some rain on and off.  We remembered that from our 2006 visit, when we didn’t see the sun in the Park for three weeks in a row.  The sun was out on the other side of US-101; we could see the blue sky.  But the particular way the land is shaped helps the prevailing summer winds from the north just blow fog right across the Park grounds.

During the second week, our friends Wayne and Eva brought the sunshine!  They caught up with us for the first time since we saw them in Indio in early May.  We’ll “hopscotch” each other down the coast from here, following the same basic route but with different stops and durations.


So, what did we do for two weeks?  Well, we went to the beach a few times, giving the pups (and us) some exercise.  They both love the beach.  Maya’s not a big fan of the water, but she loves to run.  I took a short video of one day’s adventure:

I took a walk (well, a hike really, about 5 miles) to the nearby Yaquina Head Lighthouse one day.  Since it’s run by the National Park Service, there was no fee like at some of the state and local facilities.  Yaquina Head is a peninsula just north of Newport, and the views are pretty nice.

The views are nice from the RV Park as well when the weather turns nicer and the sun sets.  We were able to get pictures from the bluff the Park sits on during a couple of sunsets.

We went to a local crab shack (literally, a shack) in part of town called South Beach for lunch one day.  We both remember eating there before on our last visit, but the memorable things wasn’t the seafood.  It was the awesome cocktail sauce made with killer horseradish.  In fact, I distinctly remember getting some of the horseradish to go the last time.  Well, things have changed; they no longer offer that.  Geri did get a small container of the cocktail sauce, though, so we picked up a bag of shrimp.  It’ll be great for clearing our sinuses...

We took a couple of “scenic drives” once the weather improved, which in this area pretty much means driving north or south along US-101.  Our first was to Depoe Bay, a little town just north of Newport.  And by “little”, we really mean little, as their claim to fame is the “World’s Smallest Harbor”.  Of course, we had to get a picture, and poke around in all the little shops.

Just north of the harbor is an overlook turnout, and we were able to do a little whale watching without having to go on a boat.  This area is known for gray whales and most migrate annually between Baja California in the winter and points north in the summer.  Some pods have decided to stay in one place, though.  They’re called “resident pods” and one uses Depoe Bay as a base.  We saw three, I think, feeding relatively close to shore.

Of course, the area is still nice even without the whales...

Once Wayne and Eva arrived, we had another beautiful sunset so we packed up all the camera gear and headed to the Park’s designated overlook, which should probably be known as “Sunset Point”.  It was still breezy and chilly, so we all bundled up.

Later in the week, Wayne and Eva moved down to Waldport, about 20 miles south of Newport.  They stayed at a friend’s beachfront lot, and we went down for an afternoon of lunch and beach-combing.

We wrapped up our two-week stay with another couple of beautiful days.  Now, we’re ready to continue our slow trek south along the coast...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 9-12: Lincoln City Elks

August 12, 2012
Lincoln City Elks Park, Lincoln City, Oregon

As always, please click on any picture below for a larger version...

Well, the adventure continues!  We left Seaside and successfully made our way to Lincoln City, about 90 miles south on US-101.  Since we only had a short distance to go, we didn’t get a quick morning start.  This was compounded by the fact that the Rover needed a jump start before we could hook up; another thing that needs watching.

We were soon finding our way to the RV Park of the Lincoln City Elks Lodge.  Their setup is different than most, as the Lodge itself is “in town” and the RV Park is a separate facility about 5 miles away.  It’s a nice and quiet place (except for the loud rednecks in the evenings), and we enjoyed a four-night stay.

Friday, we headed to local laundromat to wash some of the rugs.  This worked out well until the Rover wouldn’t start again.  We carry one of those portable jump start devices, so we were able to get going again, but the search for a replacement battery started right away.  We stopped at the local Sears outlet (a small-town mini-Sears) and I picked up a portable battery charger, which we should have on board anyway.

A little date math told me that this battery had about 35+ months on it, since the same thing happened to us in the fall of 2009.  I remember having to drive from Port Townsend, WA down to Tacoma to the Land Rover dealer because this particular battery is hard to find.  Hmmm...

The battery is an Interstate, a relatively common brand.  In fact, I saw an Interstate sign at a local tire shop on the 101, so I headed there.  Nope, don’t have one, or even one that’s equivalent.  “Have you tried the car audio shop down the highway”?  Uh, no, but I will.  as for when this battery can be shipped in, apparently “the truck” only comes in every other week.  Well, that’s inconvenient.

So, off to the Internet I go.  The Interstate web site is reasonably good, with a cascading widget asking year, make, and model of the car to give you the right battery (right, series 93, just what I have).  Click on “find a dealer”, enter my location and get a nice list sorted by distance.  Woo-hoo!  Start calling and find a string of “No, we don’t carry that series”.  That’s when I realize that “find a dealer” isn’t the same (to Interstate’s web designers, anyway) as “find this battery”.

Going old school, I call the Interstate toll free number.  After a couple of transfers, I’m connected with a guy who understands what I’m after.  “Oh, I can look up which location has that battery in stock”.  Well, alrighty then.  I send myself an email with the address (who carries pencils and paper these days?), call the guy and make arrangements to be there in an hour.  Works perfectly.  Note to self: it helps to know when it’s time to break down and actually call someone.


So, with all known technical issues covered, it was time to relax.  And we did.  We slept in.  We made the trek inland to Corvallis to the nearest Petco since we needed kibble for the pups.  We stopped at Market of Choice while we were there, a local Oregon alternative to Whole Foods Market.  Mmmm.

We also stopped at the Elks Lodge in town, and found out that Friday was “Burger Night” at the RV Park, and Sunday was their annual picnic, also at the Park.  We decided to do both; it’s always interesting to meet some of the “locals”.

Saturday, we packed up the pups in the Rover and headed out for some sightseeing.  Backtracking north on US-101, we took the “Three Capes Scenic Route” and made several stops.  We took the pups on the beach (they love that) and had a chance to get a few pictures.  Depending on where we were, the weather was alternately sunny-cool-windy or foggy-cool-windy.  It didn’t matter, as we had a nice day and nothing went wrong.

When we got back to Lincoln City, we dropped the pups back home and then headed out for dinner at a local restaurant.  Since we were once again having connectivity issues, we had to find a place to eat the old fashioned way: who has the most cars in the lot?  We found Kyllo's and had a nice dinner.  It's right near the "World's Shortest River", so we had to get that photo.

On the way home, we stopped for some more pictures at Siletz Bay.  I'd brought my iPad, so I took a few "processed" shots with one of the downloaded apps; Geri took over with the Nikon gear.  We watched a family with dogs and kids all playing in the water and wondered how they handle the cold?

Sunday was relaxing.  I did a little computer work sorting various pictures, we got burgers and brats at the Elks Picnic, and we had an early night after preparing for travel.  It was a nice stop, and we’ll stay here again.

One footnote to this travel segment: just south of Tillamook on the US-101, we passed through the little burg of Hebo, location of the “Dreaded Hebo Incident” in the fall of 2009.  That’s when the base plate for the tow bar came loose from the front of the Rover and the car free-wheeled into a hedge.  Well, we’re happy to say that we transited Hebo without incident this time and, in fact, the hedge has recovered well in the intervening three years.

Of course, with all the issues with the coach fan and Rover battery this past week after our last experience in 2009, we do have to ask ourselves if we should avoid this corner of Northwest Oregon in the future...