Stay Weird!

28 08 2015

Heard this on CBC’s WireTap a while ago – how to age gracefully. Didn’t realise there was a video to go with it.

The 93 year old has the best advice… ignore the advice!





Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 12

28 08 2015

Route: BCMC

Time: 01:32:58

A full five minutes faster than last time which was a surprise! Second born did her best time ever and completed the BCMC in less than an hour which quite pleased her. It was a little hot, but the forecast rains seemed to have kept people away and it was much quieter than recent weeks. That’s always good. I’m certainly not possessive of these public areas by any means, but personally I like to retreat to my own little world and mull over things when I’m hiking. Having people jockeying to get past on the narrow trail is quite distracting. So that makes 43 recorded ascents towards the 51 I need to claim Everest. I wonder if I’ll perhaps manage it this season.

The gate is staying open until 7pm still, but the nights are definitely drawing in, so it might soon be a challenge to get my ascents formally timed.

 

Worst thing? The strap on my FitBit broke a couple of days ago and though it seems to record my steps perfectly well from within my trouser pocket it does NOT record them if those trousers are stationary in the car while I’m trudging up Grouse… :S





Cubs are cool

25 08 2015

Harper was doing a blah blah tour up in Campbell River on the island. Somehow a group of scouts/cubs were dragged in for the photo op. This despite the fact that scouts are not supposed to attend political rallies in uniform – they’re apolitical!

In the end this “I don’t give a shit – where’s the ice-cream?” cub scout got the most attention from the media. Harper was talking about BC salmon and protecting the environment. Rumour has it the posters to go with the campaign used ATLANTIC salmon. From the UK no less!

Cubs are cool

‘Middle Kid’ steals the show at Harper photo-op – Trending – CBC News.





Summer Holiday – day 10

25 08 2015

Today was a lazy day. We started by dropping in to the small local village of Winchester Bay. Like Port Orford, it felt like this had once been a bustling tourist trap, but now felt empty and forlorn. It was actually quite sad. The local area now seemed to cater almost exclusively for the rednecks on their quad bikes tearing up and down the dunes.

We managed to find an open café, but the offerings were meagre… and in polystyrene cups!

Winchester Bay... a sad, lonely place.

Winchester Bay… a sad, lonely place.

An air of dereliction in Winchester Bay marina

An air of dereliction in Winchester Bay marina

Seems there'd once been a thriving oyster trade

Seems there’d once been a thriving oyster trade

In search of more lively entertainment – or at least food – we headed further north to Florence. Here we stopped at Fred Meyer – a US supermarket chain – and stocked up on food and provisions. As we were leaving the car-park we noticed that the famous dunes of the coast LITERALLY started at the boundary fence. In no particular hurry, we parked again and set off for a most amusing hour or so on the dunes just to the north of Florence.

Mrs E and the yoofs trying to run off and leave me

Mrs E and the yoofs trying to run off and leave me

All that's left

All that’s left

T.E. Lawrence would be back in a mo. He was just off getting his camel serviced. Fnaar fnaar.

T.E. Lawrence would be back in a mo. He was just off getting his camel serviced. Fnaar fnaar.

That's art, that is...

That’s art, that is…

The ever-present reminder that this was red-neck central.

The ever-present reminder that this was red-neck central.





Summer Holiday – day 9

25 08 2015

On the morning of the 9th we decamped and headed for our final stop at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. En route, we stopped for lunch in Coos Bay. After a couple of false stops we finally settled on a pub lunch at the 7 Devils Brewing Company. The menu was a little limited due to the small kitchen, but the service was great and the beer and vittles delightful. The brewery gives back to the community and on the first Sunday of the month actually opens its doors as a community church! Who’d ha’ thunk it?!

7 Devils Brewing Company - Coos Bay

7 Devils Brewing Company – Coos Bay

A pint of best please landlord. Actually I think this was Arago amber... a bit hoppy for my taste.

A pint of best please landlord. Actually I think this was Arago amber… a bit hoppy for my taste.

Pretzel and dip. Scrummy!

Pretzel and dip. Scrummy!

Though we were to be there for 5 nights, the campground at Umpqua lighthouse was by far the worst we’d been at. It was clean to be sure, but the showers and toilets were “rustic”, and the sites were minuscule and merely packed sand (this was in dune country after all!). We actually had to carry the bench table to the car parking pad to free up enough room for the larger tent… and we had another small hike tent too! It was a snug fit.

After we were settled in, we headed off to explore the lighthouse and the small museum. We’d just missed its opening hours, but noted the old lifeboat and vowed to return later for a proper look-see.

Old self-righting lifeboat

Old self-righting lifeboat

Umpqua Lighthouse, built 1894

Umpqua Lighthouse, built 1894





Summer Holiday – day 8

25 08 2015

Day 8 we woke up in Humbug Mountain State Park. It was definitely the best site we were in for the whole holiday. Crater Lake and Painter Hills had the scenery for sure, but this little campsite was a jewel in itself. The camp hosts kept the place pristine and when we were there the residents were quiet and friendly.

As well as polishing off a geocache along the way, Mrs E and I began the day with the 5-6mile round trip of Humbug mountain. It’s basically a mile up/down, plus a circular walk of somewhere around 4 miles to the summit. The summit itself is really disappointing with no view of the sea, or indeed anything! The trail was largely well maintained but there were a couple of fallen trees and a little bit of erosion in places.

Humbug Mountain camp ground and trail

Humbug Mountain camp ground and trail

It was a good hike though and as the morning wore on toward lunch we started to see a fe more people. Weirdly, everyone else except one couple had decided to go anti-clockwise. We, of course, went clockwise against what turned out to be the flow.

After we got back to the site and freshened up a bit, we headed off to explore Port Orford. The brochures (and Doris) promised a large selection of cafés, restaurants etc. We were expecting the full-on seaside tourist experience. Maybe even fish’n’chips!

It was not to be however. There was indeed a nice-looking fish’n’chip shop and one or two other open establishments, but by and large it would seem that Post Orford had simply “gone away”. Shuffled off its mortal coil, snuffed it. Parrot or no – Port Orford was definitely dead. Having walked the full length of the town in search of a coffee shop, we took a side-street that promised a view of the coast-guard station. Half a mile up a winding lane we gave that up as a bad job and retreated towards the town centre again. Here we passed a couple of closed art galleries, bed and breakfasts and cafés. Some had pitifully offered WiFi as a last gasp attraction before finally closing for good. We were amused in a sad, twisted way to see that the town had plaintively painted on a road that yes, really, there was a sea view, if only you’d stay just a little bit longer…

Please, please, please stay a while...

Please, please, please stay a while…

Happy to give Port Orford one last chance, we headed up the street and were greeted with a panoramic view of the harbour. I use the term very loosely, for Port Orford actually has one of only two remaining Dolly Docks in the US. There is no natural harbour hereabouts, so they literally haul the fishing boats in and out of the sea each day via two giant cranes.

Dolly Dock, Port Orford

Dolly Dock, Port Orford

After a few minutes of bemused pondering, we were treated to a returning vessel making use of the facility and illustrating the equipment in use.

Port Orford's Dolly Dock in use

Port Orford’s Dolly Dock in use

It seemed that this was the highlight of Port Orford and we’d pretty much exhausted its offerings. We ambled back to the RedFish restaurant/gallery we’d found at the southern end of the town and enjoyed a nice Chai Latte and the view back south towards Humbug Mountain before heading back for some relaxation and a Sudoku or two…

Humbug Mountain from Port Orford to the north

Humbug Mountain from Port Orford to the north





Summer Holiday – day 7

23 08 2015

Day seven of our road trip was exactly that… a road trip. We had to get from Crater Lake to the west coast, crossing some pretty hilly terrain in the meantime. We asked Doris for her best suggestion, and she was adamant that the best route was to dip far to the south – as far as California in fact – then head back up the coast road. The paper map plainly showed two alternative more direct routes, but admittedly these weren’t major highways. We had all day though, so we once more rejected Doris’ suggestion and told her we insisted on travelling via a little place called Agness, so that she’d be forced to route us more directly to the west.

Wow… this one little decision made for one heck of a day’s travel!! To give just a hint, let me illustrate the route we took using Google Maps.

Seems reasonably direct

Seems reasonably direct

We added a small detour to Medford to stock up on groceries. Medford it turned out was thick with smoke from the southern fires. Doesn’t seem so bad, does it? We didn’t think so. But… let me show you the same map without the nice blue line on it.

Where did the road go, exactly?

Where did the road go, exactly?

Yup – the part of the route that goes through the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest is, well, “interesting”.

Everything is fine and dandy until you get to Galice. The road from Merlin to Galice was definitely rural, but there were still road markings and a little traffic. Once you were past Galice though there were an ever increasing set of clues that maybe going all the way down to California wasn’t so silly after all. The signs had gunshot pellet holes. Then there were no signs. The road got narrow. There were warnings of closures in winter. There were sections of unpaved road with simply gravel to make the road at least passable after the last wash-out.  There was a forestry ranger parked in the middle of the road with his truck doors open when we turned a corner. He seemed shocked not to have the entire county to himself, and closed a door to let us pass. After winding our way for several more miles we finally encountered a flurry of traffic coming the other way. By now the road was single track and the on-coming traffic was in no mood to slow down or yield to an SUV with BC plates. Several of the vehicles were large vans towing trailers with 6 or 8 kayaks. We were glad for the off-road capability of the Pilot as we dove for cover in the bushes. The Rogue River is a popular white water rafting, fishing and kayaking destination. There were several tours you could take and I guess these drivers knew the road well and were “on the clock”.

Detail from the map board. Tell me this doesn't make you feel like maybe you shouldn't really be here...

Detail from the map board. Tell me this doesn’t make you feel like maybe you shouldn’t really be here… RED has that effect, on a map, as does the word “wild” and “wilderness”!

It was with jangly nerves and some relief when we finally came back to “normal” road – several stretches of rough gravel now safely behind us. Thankfully I noticed in time that Agness was actually on the other side of the river to us and it was a several mile detour on the one and only road in and out if we ACTUALLY went to Agness over the bridge. We managed to avoid that detour to “BFN” as my daughter would call it, and were pretty happy when we could smell the sea air and popped out at the coast near Wedderburn. A quick trek up the coast road and we were at our destination for the next couple of nights – Humbug Mountain. This was in a little oasis between the old coast road – which was now the access to the State Park – and the new straighter coast highway. But more of that in the next report.








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