Posts Tagged With: camping

Travels With Minnie: It Never Rains on the Golf Course

The rain came down in buckets this morning.

Reg got the worst of it as he braved the storm doing the grunt work and hitching us up. A pretty miserable start to our day. Fortunately, the weather improved as we passed through Kentucky and Indiana on our way to the Grayville, Illinois KOA.
We’ve stayed at a number of KOA campgrounds over the years. The great thing about them is that they’re convenient and pretty darn dependable. Grayville, however, knocks the socks off any other we’ve ever stayed at.

The western motif is carried throughout the park.
I was tempted to take a turn down the slides.

But it was the Putt Putt golf course the really caught our attention. Reg couldn’t resist, so we each channeled our inner child, chose our clubs and balls and signed on for 18 holes.

Reg and I are pretty competitive so we did keep score. He threw out lots of golf terminology…birdie and bogey and double bogey and eagle. It was on lucky hole number 13, a par 4 hole at that, when I was able to shout out my one and only golf phrase.
Hole-in-one!

I was pretty excited, so I took this picture of my hole-in-one ball. To be fair, Reg got one soon after I did. It was a pretty close game so Reg didn’t bother to add up our final scores… I think I must have won!

Categories: Travels With Minnie | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Up Around the Bend…Oregon

Mount Thielsen (elevation 9,183) pointed our way as we drove to Bend, Oregon for five days of camping with friends
Chris and Judy.

Our first day together we tackled the Sparks Lake Loop Trail which took us through forests and around ancient lava flows. While the remains of the lava flows were fascinating, the views from the shoreline were the high point.

Across Sparks Lake was a stunning view of Broken Top Crater.
This is a favorite photo spot to capture South Sister, the southernmost of the Three Sisters of the Cascade Range.


Categories: Oregon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Patrick’s Point Escape

With our trailer following behind us, we were making good time as we headed down California’s North Coast.  And then, just a hop, skip and a jump from our destination, we came upon a traffic jam, causing Reg to hit the brakes.  Twenty minutes later we were on our way and saw no visible signs of a cause for delay.

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Our destination was a private campground across the road from Patrick’s Point State Park, the only place we could find when hunting for a last minute reservation.  We checked in and were given a sheet of rules listing all the offenses that would cause us to be required to leave.  A little over-the-top, but since our camping buddies weren’t joining us, we figured we could restrain ourselves from causing too much of a ruckus!

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Patrick’s Point State Park hugs the cliffs of Northern California, offering spectacular ocean views and a network of forested trails.  Had the weather been a little nicer, we may have spent more time exploring.  We did drive through the campground and the sites looked amazing.  Good incentive to reserve early for a return trip.

Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Discover The Cape Arago Beach Loop

Just a short detour from U.S. Highway 101 in Coos Bay lies a beautiful stretch of the Oregon Coast where three state parks await your discovery.  The parks are easily reached by car, but the best way to see the sights is by foot along the cliff top path, an 8.5 mile walk out and back.

Cape Arago State Park, located at the south end of the loop, provides picnic tables, views and hiking trails down to tide pools.  A highlight is the viewpoint overlooking a noisy colony of seals and sea lions.  We were lucky enough to see the occasional spout from a whale swimming about.  Be sure to bring your binoculars!

Simpson Beach, a secluded cove with a sandy shore, is breathtakingly beautiful and a perfect spot to wiggle your toes in the sand or dip them in the surf.

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Directly above the cove is Shore Acres State Park.  Originally home to timber baron Louis Simpson and his family, the estate home is long gone.  The remaining Gardener’s Cottage is surrounded by 5 acres of formal gardens, open to the public and well worth a stroll.   Be sure to stop and smell the roses!

Because we were lucky enough to have secured a campsite, our walk ended where it began…with our return to Sunset Bay State Park.  Make your reservations here early…this is a popular spot to escape the summer heat and, of course, to watch the sunset.

Categories: Oregon, Oregon Coast, Road Trips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An Ongoing Beacon For Photographers And History Buffs

The Coquille River Lighthouse was first lit in 1896 and continued to guide ships to safety off the coast of Bandon, Oregon until it was decommissioned in 1939.Bullard Beach State Park provides the starting point for a brisk 5+ mile round trip walk to the lighthouse. You’ll find plenty of opportunity for beach access along the way. Several parking lots are available those less adventurous.These days the lighthouse opens to provide a glimpse into the past…a brief history lesson for visitors, campers and history buffs. It also serves as inspiration (for photographers) from either shore of the Coquille River.

Categories: Oregon, Oregon Coast, Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Whale of a Good Time at Yaquina Head

When smoke continued to choke the Rogue Valley last week, we decided it was time to live dangerously. We hitched up our trailer and headed to the Oregon Coast…without reservations! Spontaneous and risky! And successful. Arriving early on the last day of a three-day holiday weekend allowed us to easily find a full hookup spot at a first come – first served campground.

Our favorite outing of the week was a trip to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse with friends and fellow campers, Lan and Jeff. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the lighthouse has the distinction of being the tallest (at 93 feet) on the Oregon Coast. Free tours of the lighthouse are available most days. Space is limited, so check in at the Interpretive Center to get your tickets.

As great as the lighthouse tour was, the stars of the day were the resident gray whales that linger off the coast near Newport from May through October or November. They swim surprisingly close to shore and put on quite a show for us throughout the afternoon.

Scanning the water, we were continually rewarded with a glimpses of a water spouts, followed by gracefully arched backs of the diving whales. The sight of a fluke (when the tail sticks straight up) never failed to raise a cheer from spectators.

Although the whales were swimming just beyond the rocks, capturing them with my camera lens was impossible…so, while we have no photos, we do have many memories of a beautiful afternoon spent at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and surrounding Natural Area.

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Goodnight From Harris Beach State Park in Oregon

We are enjoying a four-day escape from home where work has begun on a new roof for our town home. Longtime friends, Kathy and Doug, drove their trailer up from California, joining us to camp and explore Oregon's beautiful Coast. We finished dinner just in time to rush down to the beach and catch the setting sun.

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. We’ve been there…

…or have we?  When Reg reserved our “one night stand” at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park on the coast of Oregon, we both had a pretty clear memory of our prior visit and a mental picture of where we’d be staying as we headed up the Oregon Coast.

When Reg pulled into the campground I commented that it was much more forested than I remembered.  Without another thought we checked in, quickly set up camp and headed out to explore the ‘hood.

Following a one mile trail that looped around Lake Marie, Reg marveled at our surprise discovery.  “I never would have guessed this lake was here,” he said as we watched children splashing in the swimming area.  

When the camp host told us the Lighthouse was just a short quarter mile walk from our campground, we began to have reservations about our reservation!  Perhaps we were not where we thought we were…

Slightly disoriented, we arrived at the Lighthouse and realized why everything felt so unfamiliar.  As it turns out, we’ve never been to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park before…until today that is!  A chat with a crusty old sea captain type who was selling admissions to the Lighthouse Museum cleared up our confusion, reassuring us that we weren’t completely losing our minds.  It seems our memories (and where we thought we had a reservation) are from (we think) Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of here…where there is no lake and the campsites are not quite so forested!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Very tall, very old things

On our way to the Boy Scout Tree in California’s Jedediah Smith State Park today, our camera found several other old, tall living things along the trail, including a former Scout!

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Newberry National Volcanic Monument Rocks

 

The skies opened up as we parked atop Lava Butte - our first stop of the day.

This was not what we had in mind when we scheduled four days at Tumalo State Park, just north of Bend, Oregon. However, with so much to see and do, we headed out early and hoped the weather report, which called for just a 30% chance of afternoon showers, would be accurate. Silly us!

We would have preferred sunshine, but the view wasn't bad for such a cloudy day.

Lava Butte is located within the boundaries of Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The monument was created in 1990 to protect more than 54,000 acres of lakes, lava flows and spectacular geologic features, remnants of long past volcanic activity in Central Oregon. The butte was our first stop on a rainy morning, a morning that got progressively brighter as we continued to explore.

A narrow road spirals around the butte where ten parking spots are located. Visitors are assigned a time slot and given 30 minutes to spend up top.

Even with gray skies, the view was pretty amazing.

Lava fields extend for miles. A pathway from the Visitor's Center led us up, down and around the ancient piles of lava.

A series of stairs, ramps and railings led us into the cave, but they soon disappeared and we were left with just our flashlights to guide us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn't take long before the light dimmed, then disappeared completely. Flashlights are a must!

One of the more unique adventures we discovered at Newberry Volcanic National Park was the walk through the Lava River Cave. Surprisingly, this is a self-guided walk through a pitch black lava tube. We were told the path extended a mile into the cave. Reg exchanged his car keys (for collateral) and ten dollars for two park service flashlights – you can bring your own but make sure the batteries are good and strong! We were educated about bats…although, lucky for me, we didn't see any…and sent on our way.

I've must admit…we didn't walk the entire way to the back of the cave, so I can't tell you what lies at the end of the trail. There weren't many other brave souls making the journey that day and I started getting the the heebie-jeebies.

So…my suggestion to you would be that you plan your own visit sometime soon and find out for yourself what's found the end of the trail…then let me know!

 

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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