More coastal adventures ... Friday, Aug 21st, 2015

We love Oregon’s coastal state parks, most of them quiet and picturesque, with secluded sites, not spaces all jammed in together.  They’re more costly than they used to be, but what isn’t?  It’s nice to have a spacious FHU site at Carl Washburne, but the park has one real flaw – it’s in a dead zone, with no TV, and absolutely no cell service or Internet. It’s okay to be without, but we’ve all grown sorta dependent on being able to look up info on the ‘net, and here that isn’t possible.  My phone?  I felt sorry for the poor thing "searching for service," and finally turned it off.

Friday we loaded the phones and computers in Smartie and set off on a full day’s worth of adventures.  

Our first stop sort of around the corner:  Iconic Heceta Head Lighthouse, perched 206 feet above the Pacific on Heceta Headland.  This morning we learned a new fact:  The headland was named for Don Bruno de Heceta, who surveyed the Oregon coast for the Royal Spanish Navy in 1775 – he was the first European to record the promontory rising 1,000’ above the water.  Finished and first lit in 1894, today the lighthouse is the brightest beacon on the Oregon coast.

We visited the lighthouse in ’09 when we camped at Washburne, but since then the lighthouse has undergone a major restoration.  Beginning in 2011, historic metalwork and masonry were restored or replaced, interior and exteriors were repainted, new windows installed and the interior bricks were cleaned.  Also, the wood floor of the workroom (where we stood on our tour) was uncovered and reconditioned.  The work took two years to complete and now the lighthouse looks much like it did in 1894.  A major difference is its modern 1,000-watt quartz bulb that produces 2.5 million candle power; the beam visibility is 21 miles, limited only by the curvature of the earth.  The tour didn’t include being able to go up to the first-order Fresnel lens.

Breathtaking view.

We did walk a zigzag trail above the lighthouse to look into the lens.

I was surprised to see how much (invasive) colorful Hummingbird grass has overtaken the western coast.
And Purple Loosestrife.  

Historic Cape Creek bridge, circa 1932, is not only functional, it also pleases the eye.  Notice that Smartie got the best spot in Heceta Head Lighthouse parking lot!

Florence, 12 miles south, was next, and we picked Mo’s in historic Old Town for lunch – yum! We walked our little legs off, discovered an RV park adjacent to the Siuslaw River (hmmm), visited a neat coffee shop overlooking the river to check phones and use the Internet (adding the previous blog post).  What a pretty day!

Before we left town, we picked up two cooked and chilled Dungeness crabs for dinner, made a stop at Fred Meyer’s for milk ‘n stuff, and then back to Tergel. I wonder if this Fred Meyer’s is the only one with a massive sand dune at its back door?

Cruising harbor seal.

We enjoyed our dinner, even if we forgot our crab crackers.  Heck, a hammer and pliers work just as well. Two totally tasty crabs and two happy people!  And enough sweet meat left for Crab Louis for dinner tomorrow!  Hooray!


  1. Necessity is the mother of invention :-) I love these coastal images ... it's very cooling to see them ;-)

  2. I didn't know that hummingbird grass was an invasive. It certainly seems to be all over on the coast. Someday, you'll have to teach me how to eat a crab. ;)

    1. OK, Judy, you're on! (since this hammer-crackin' photo above, we bought a proper crab cracker!)

  3. We keep two "lobster claw crackers" in our camper for just such occasions! Just gotta LOVE dungeness crabs!

  4. Is that hummingbird grass a plant called crocusmia? I have seen the bulbs for sale at nurseries around here. Wondering if it is invasive out west. Purple loosestrife isn't the horrible killer of wetlands out west that it is back east either. Not sure if it is on the noxious list for Oregon. Never say never, though, it may catch up. Loved seeing all the fun things you are doing. And glad you found some internet to post this!


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