Monday (June 7): It was time to pack up and advance to my next destination: South Beach SP near Newport. I left Sunset Bay campground a little after noon; the drive was estimated at two hours, but with some planned stops I guessed it would be late afternoon before I finished the day,
My first side trip was to check out the Umpqua Lighthouse, just a few miles off Highway 101 near Reedsport. The lighthouse was located among some older buildings and was surrounded by a fence. Signs in the area indicated that no tours were available. A nearby museum and gift shop were both open and a few visitors roamed the grounds.
I didn’t spend much time in the area and noticed I was getting hungry for some lunch. I planned to stop in Florence for a meal so I continued north. I rolled in to Florence around 1:30 in the afternoon, found a large parking space near the waterfront and began exploring. The waterfront has several streets of stores, restaurants, art galleries and coffee shops. A few restaurants with water views were also open. Before eating I walked around the spectacular bridge that spans the Siuslaw River. It is one of the several bridges designed by Conde McCullough, a bridge engineer for the Oregon State Highway Department in the 1930’s.
I took the above photo of the waterfront from the middle span of the bridge. I don’t tolerate high locations with wide open spaces, so walking along the bridge’s narrow walkway next to speeding cars was a test of nerves. Thankfully, nobody got the impulse to lay on their horn while passing me.
That was enough excitement for one day, so I sat down at an outdoor table at the International C-Food restaurant overlooking the harbor. It was a pleasant day and the large restaurant building blocked most of the strong breeze. I ordered fish and chips and chowder for lunch (my third tasting of this combination for this trip.) I think this restaurant’s chowder was just as good as the Brookings Hungry Clam’s chowder. I still give a nod to the Hungry Clam for their more generous serving, though.
After finishing lunch I planned my next diversion. I knew the Haceda Head lighthouse was just a few miles north of Florence and I had read that some great views of the lighthouse were available at turnouts along the edge of the highway. I scoped out the area on Google satellite maps and strategized my attack: I would drive past the turnouts to identify the best ones and then turn around at the lighthouse parking lot and return on HWY 101 to the turnouts. As I drove near the area, I could see the incredible views of the coastline and lighthouse and picked out the best turnout.
I continued up to the parking lot to excitedly begin my return trip. However, I managed to end up in the part of the parking lot that had a sign posted (much too late to be useful) that there was no trailer turnaround. The parking lot was one driveway with right-angle parking spaces on each side and a dead end at the far end. Several cars and people were actively moving about and I knew this was going to be very interesting. Trying to remain calm, I scoped out a couple of open parking spaces on my left and an open one on the right and decided I was going to turn my trailer around in spite of that damn sign’s opinion. Immediately I noticed several cars waiting behind me, so the pressure was on.
After a couple of the back and forth maneuvers I got the hang of it and got the heck out of there in a hurry. That was enough excitement for one day, so I took a deep breath and aimed my car for the highway turnout. It was open when I arrived and the view was better than I could have imagined. The sky was clear blue with puffy white clouds, the water below was blue with terrific waves crashing on the beach, and the lighthouse stood out sharply against the rocky terrain. After the mundane view of the Umpqua Lighthouse, the Haceda Head Lighthouse overachieved. Not satisfied to show you just one photo, I’ve included four images from wide to up close.
I was satisfied with all the effort it took to get to this point and capture these images. Now I had just one more u-turn to make to get back on the path to Newport. Rather than drive farther south to find a suitable place to turn around, I quickly flipped the u-turn right out of the turnout when traffic was clear and drove north again. I should have layed some rubber just for effect. I continued on leisurely and enjoyed the remainder of the drive.
I reached South Beach State Park and parked in my campsite around 7:00pm. After the lengthy time in the car, I was ready to set up and wind down. However, when I opened up my trailer I was greeted at the door by a jar of salsa. Looking up I noticed the refrigerator door slightly ajar and several other food items strewn across the floor. Annoyed but not dismayed, I started to gather the items and then I noticed something awful. A large plastic jug was laying on it side on the floor near the rear of the trailer. This was the jug that had a block of ice in it to help keep the fridge cold during the drive. But the block of ice was very small and the puddle of water (previously know as ice) on the floor was very large. I knew water damage was serious and began quickly emptying out my trailer. I located the places where the water had reached inside some of the compartments and dried it up as much as possible. I opened all the affected hatches and emptied them to make room for ventilation. This was not how I wanted to set up for the evening!
I stashed most of the trailer items in the car and repaired the refrigerator door. I noticed a small threaded hinge pin had worked itself loose, allowing the door to sag and render the latch useless. I tightened that screw down super-tight, got the door back together and called it a night.
That was enough excitement for one day.
– + –