Thursday, June 24, 2010

Newport, OR

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Today, I found the ocean and I met up with That Coastal Girl Robin.  We met at the Oregon Coast Aquarium… and had fun looking at the new exhibit… Swampland for an immersive experience with colorful mural work replicating different types of swamps.  

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One most impressive items was a freshwater Alligator Snapping Turtle.  I didn’t know they got so big.  The guidebook says they weight between 155 and 175 pounds.  They live 70 years in the wild.  Gosh, I pray I NEVER run into one that big in the wild. The guidebook says they are NOT Threatened.  Duh???

This thing must have been six feet long from nose to tail.  I had a run-in with one of those once in Coastal Virginia.  My boys were small.  They stayed in the van while I went to move the turtle off the highway.  I approached from the rear… it was only about 2’ long.  It got up tall on it’s feet, then squatted and jumped into the air about two feet and made a full 180 degree about face… and landed facing me and hissing.  I left him in the middle of the highway and returned to the van rather quickly.  And smell bad… oh my gosh.  But six feet long!  Sure glad he was in a really big solid tank.

Other nice exhibits were the kelp forest and the touching pool.

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The Kelp Forest - A sting ray swimming overhead.


Anemone with guest… photo by Robin Smith (That Coastal Girl)

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The touching pool

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I wanted to buy stuff for my granddaughter, but my brain kept saying… it’s gas money… so I took a photo instead.  Zoey, this one is for you:

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Robin is delightful and fits right in with my Vandweller tribe.  She was worried about that.  Even has a dog, so Homer, Tori and others will be happy.  She is eagerly awaiting for her last fledgling to fledge.  Two years to go and we should begin watching for her at southwest gatherings.  We traded beads… and she gave me a metal feather charm and seven agate beads.  According to American Indian tradition, Robin says, the seven beads represent wishes for a successful completion of a task… and for me.. that means completing my 50-state paddle and agate also represents good luck.

In the parking lot of the Aquarium… we saw this neat rig. 

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The couple designed it and had it built.  They are travelling all 50 states, golfing each as they go.  It was really nifty.

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After the Aquarium, we drove out to the Jetty where you can get a really good view of the bridge.  It was rather cold… so we then headed over the Embarcadero for lunch. 

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Yum, shrimp melt (English muffin, shrimp sauce, small shrimp, topped with cheese – melted) and a side of cole slaw.  It was so good.  Nice view overlooking the marina.

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We then went over to Wal-Mart where I looked for that tent that goes with the First Up Canopy… and they did not have it… so I bought some scarves and hats… for my bald  head.


Photo by Robin (That Coastal Girl)

After saying goodbye to Robin, I drove on up to Lincoln City where I plan to hunt for agates tomorrow.  Also, if you register and get a Players Card at the Casino… you can get a free breakfast brunch.  That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

It was a good… no… a GREAT day.

Thanks Robin.

Florence, OR on way to Newport

Finally, I get to see the Free Willy aquarium.  The Coastal Girl, Robin, has invited me to go to the Aquarium today near Newport, OR.


Yesterday, driving up I-5 out of northern CA… I noticed metal animal sculptures along the highway.  A cow and a dragon.  This incredible dragon sculpture is on the right side of the road (heading north on Interstate 5, it is on the east side of the highway just north of Yreka, California). It's made from scrap metal like mufflers, pipes, and corrugated sheet metal.   The cow was a little ways before the dragon but I couldn’t stop. They are impressive. 

Applegate Trail, OR

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Interpretive Center in Canyonville, OR

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Restroom in little rest stop park in Canyonville, OR.  Nicest restroom I have ever seen on the road.  Giant saw blade with nice painting.

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Ladies room… dig that sculpture.

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Men’s room… ever see anything like this?

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Bear drinking fountain.  This rest area is around the block from the bead shop I found.  I am not sure about overnight camping, but is it a nice little town to take a break in.  I’d like to spend some time there.

But yesterday, it was just driving, except HOWEVER, I did discover the neatest bead shop I’ve ever seen, in Canyonville, OR.  This is a must stop… for anyone trading beads.  Called Bead Mecca… Your Pilgrimage is Over.  The owner, Pamela Landell is delightful… and loved my story about the bead necklace… and one bead representing each vandweller I meet on my travels.   She even had wire-wrapping supplies and various classes.

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Of course, riding along so many miles, I listen to a lot of radio… and these lyrics really hit me yesterday:

“What do you say to taking chances”… “jumping off the edge”… blah blah blah…. Oh, BOY is that ever me.

Also… another song with phrases like : “unbelievable sights” “indescribable feelings” from I think A Whole New World. That’s what I am feeling now.. like I’m in a whole new world… well, not Oregon, I’ve been here before… but just the state of mind… of being free and beginning a whole new phase of my life.  So freeing and wonderful.

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I got off I-5 at Sutherlin… and headed west on 138… which later become 38.  Wonderful drive, kind of a step back in time… pastoral lands, horses and cows grazing… and sheep… and even elk.  I really enjoyed the drive between I-5 and the Coast, as I have enjoyed other routes off of I-5 to the Coast.  I’ve done at least four different transverses through OR like that.  All were wonderful.  At times I was driving through a “green tunnel”… where the tree canopy was completely over the highway… and it was so dark I had to pull off my sunglasses.

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Highway 138/38 follows along the Umpqua River.  Along the way, I saw campers right down on the river with their vehicles.  I think camping free.  The Umpqua River valley was inhabited by several different bands of Indians: primarily the Athabaskan speaking Upper Umpqua, Takelman speaking Cow Creek Band of Umpqua, the Yoncalla (a Kalapuyan people) in the north, and the Quich (Lower Umpqua) from Scottsburg/Wells Creek to the coast. The Quich spoke a language distantly related to Alsea/Yakonan and the Coos Bay languages. (from Wikipedia)

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This is also the Roseburg Historic Scenic Bypass / Umpqua Scenic Bypass.  At Yellow Creek this is a boat ramp.  Lots of place to pull off the road and rest/park. I even thought I had a glimpse of some buffalo, but there were too many trees and no place to park.

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Elk Herd along the tree line.

Reaching Florence OR, I found the Laundromat with $3 shower and indulged myself (in the August 31, 2009 post I have photos of the place).  I spent last night parked next to the Laundromat were I got a very good night’s sleep. 

After I kayak all 50-states, I will return and explore northern California and Oregon extensively.  Very beautiful areas.  I’m “jumping off the edge”… and seeing “unbelievable sights.”

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.