The wind continued to blow, as it has since we arrived on the coast, but without a cloud in the sky, it was a beautiful day to walk on the beach in Bandon, Oregon.
After pocketing my winnings from the casino we continued north on Highway 101 to the Coos Bay waterfront. A pair tall ships were dockside, drawing eager crowds who held tickets, ready to set sail for adventure. Everyone and everything was enjoying the sun, including this seagull perched atop a cluster of old wharf posts.We took a chance on a little seafood shack located down on the docks, figuring their fish and chips were worth a try. We were not disappointed! Not only was it “the best fish and chips on the Oregon Coast,” (according to the owner…and he was right!) but my casino winnings covered the cost! Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch!?
Reg pulled in to check out the The Mill Casino RV Park in Coos Bay, and since we were there, I couldn’t resist trying my luck. I waved goodbye to my five dollar bill as I fed it into a giant slot machine…then pushed the button. Much to my surprise, I walked away with a $20.00 profit. I was thrilled! Maybe we’ll go back and see Elvis this weekend!
Remains of an old wharf stand tall as the tide recedes along the coast of Oregon.
The camp host encouraged us to make the short walk to see the Umpqua Lighthouse not just during daylight, but also after dark. Intrigued, we bundled up last night and headed out to the coast, curious to discover what mysterious sights we might behold.Once the sun went down and dark settled over us, the signature beams (two white-one red) lit up the sky, continuously sweeping a circle overhead. As we turned and looked over the ocean we could see the light stretching out toward the horizon…visible more than 20 miles out to sea.
While the first heatwave of summer bakes the Rogue Valley back home, we awoke to day four of our cool 2 1/2 week coastal escape. A note in our hiking book suggested the “not to be missed” Umpqua Discovery Center located on “Reedsport’s scenic riverfront boardwalk.” Somewhat skeptical, but wanting to stick close to our home base at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park today, we made the short drive north.Built entirely with grants and donations, the center is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Impressive displays, some interactive, explain the Natural and Cultural History of the Oregon Coast. Massive murals, painted by artist Peggy O’Neal, are beautifully done and anchor each of the many displays. We were told each mural took about a year to complete. Take in the views up and down the river from the boardwalk or grab a bite to eat at one of the neighboring restaurants. The Umpqua Discovery Center is located just off Highway 101 and Highway 38 in Reedsport, Oregon. Open daily with a reasonable admission charge.
Friends Lan and Jeff suggested a morning hike along a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail that would lead us to Little Hyatt Lake reservoir. A couple thousand feet above Ashland we found spring blooming throughout a series of lush, green meadows.
We reached the spillway below the reservoir and climbed to a ledge overlooking the lake. A perfect spot to rest and have a bite to eat before our return trip.
Standing with our backs to Rome’s Trevi Fountain six years ago, we tossed coins into the water, wishing for our return to Rome.
Our dream has come true, but when we returned to the fountain Monday, it was closed. Why? Three days a week, the Trevi Fountain goes dry and the coins are vacuumed and packed into white bags that fill the back of a small white truck.
What happens to the piles of cash? The money goes to the Roman Catholic charity Caritas, which helps feed the needy in 200 nations and territories.
How much coin is tossed into the Trevi Fountain each year? About a million and a quarter dollars worth.
So when you are in Rome, toss those coins into the fountain, for good luck —- and a good cause.
Minutes after the coins were sucked up, the Trevi Fountain returned to life. Money immediately began raining down, perhaps bringing good luck, but, more certainly, help for those in need.
Were it not for the line of curiosity seekers, we might never have found the peephole we were looking for. It’s there, just to the right of the white hat brim, looking very much like a round keyhole. It is, in fact, known as The Aventine Keyhole and is part of the property owned by the Priory of the Knights of Malta, one of the last surviving orders of knights left from the Crusades.
It was the rumored view through this peephole that led us to climb Aventine Hill to the piazza Cavalieri di Malta.
Was it worth it? I don’t know…what do you think?
Rome is a great place to be as we miss the daily adventures of the Way of St. Francis.
We returned to Vatican City Friday for a nighttime visit to the Vatican Museums, where we marveled at Michelangelo’s genius in the Sistine Chapel for an hour. Perhaps we had not cleaned up well enough after our trek, because fewer than 100 people joined us. We were tempted to slide down the handrail at the spiral ramp on the way out.
Saturday, we left the comfort of our hotel, which is in a quiet section of Campo Fiori, for a city walkabout that included a successful search for our favorite gelato. It was everything we remembered from six years ago.
We are back in our room, sipping wine, wondering where to find some good pizza or pasta for dinner. Hmmm…