Picture Of The Day

Our family member located in Wyoming takes a lot of scenic photos while traveling from one place to another. It’s a long way between locations of civilization through beautiful country. It’s easy to get great photos.

This one is of Hell’s Half Acre also known as The Baby Grand Canyon. HHA is located in the middle of the Wyoming desert between Riverton/Lander and Casper, about 40 miles west of Casper. The canyon’s 320 acres are made up of deep ravines, caves, rock formations and hard-packed eroded earth.

The Power River Nation resides here along the 120 miles between Riverton and Casper on the two-lane State Highway Route 26. There are a couple of town signs along the route but no real towns until you reach Shoshoni, population 644, where you can continue on to Riverton/Lander or take off into the Wind River Canyon. This is a main tourist route in the summer and very busy. One needs to just relax and not worry about passing vehicles because it can be impossible to do so.

However, it is worth the trip. Hell’s Half Acre is unique and worth a stop at the location of what used to be a restaurant and major tourist stop. Here you can still view the canyon from behind the fence screening. Remember this is desert so it is very dry. You may see antelope along the roadside but not much else other than the rattlers that reside in the canyon.

Hell’s Half Acre was a major location for Native Americans hunting buffalo. They would drive the herds over the edges of the canyon as a means of harvesting meat. HHA is most famous for being the location of the alien bug planet scenes in the 1997 movie “Starship Troopers.” Locals were hired as extras but they must have gone a ways to find them because no one lives here for miles around. They were hired mostly as dead bodies. You can still find blank shells at the bottom of the canyon from the movie and old buffalo bones. That’s not snow you see in the canyon. It’s alkali!

More On The Tall Ships

It was disappointing that the Lady Washington was not able to cross the bar into Coos Bay last weekend. But for fans and seekers of Tall Ship adventures, this weekend will provide another opportunity to visit The Lady Washington.

She docks in the historic port at Newport, Oregon, providing opportunity for one and all to board her and experience days of yore. Follow this link for more information:  http://www.historicalseaport.org/public-tours-sails/sailing-schedule/newport-oregon/

Be sure to return here for information on visiting us at http://www.umpquahaven.com for a night or more or just a hello on your way to Newport. We are an easy drive up the beautiful Oregon Coast to Tall Ship adventures in Newport.

The Tall Ships Are Coming Again!

The Lady Washington will arrive in Coos Bay, OR, April 11 to the 17th, for the local Maritime Legacy Days. There are always fun activities for the family and the opportunity to board the Lady Washington and meet pirates and learn about her adventures. You can learn more by visiting The World Newspaper’s website: http://theworldlink.com  Below is a repost of our 2015 post about the Tall Ships that visit the Oregon Coast.

Time for the arrival of the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain in the port of Coos Bay, Oregon. These two regular visitors will arrive at harbor on May 1, 2015, for a 12 day stay at mooring on the public docks. From Umpqua River Haven it is a short, 45 minute drive down the beautiful Oregon Coast to Coos Bay.

These two beauties journey here for the annual celebration of the local rich maritime and cultural history of the sea. Visitors have a rare opportunity to experience what life was like onboard these historic sailing ships, see reenactments of battle sails, passages and a healing ceremony with local Native American Tribes, along with local festivals.


The Lady Washington

Venture down to the Coos Bay public docks/park on highway 101 during early May and you will find school children touring these fine ships. Sign up for a tour but do it quickly as they are sold out fast.


You can follow the journey of these majestic vessels on Facebook:  facebook.com/GHHSA and Twitter: @graysharborhist.


The Hawaiian Chieftain

The adventure never ends with the crews dressed in period costume.  Their expert guidance for both school children and adults is informative, educational and entertaining.


It is fascinating to see all the rigging and practical features when these lovelies are moored with sails furled. And to note the gaps in the toe rail that allow water to flow off the decks.

                                                        The Lady Washington

HawiianChieftian-2      The Hawaiian Chieftain

Do stop in to see us at www.umpquahaven.com on your way to Coos Bay. We are just a short 45 miles from the Tall Ships!




Picture Of The Day

One of our favorite places on the Oregon Coast is Cape Arago. One of our family members spotted their first whale here. You can explore the tide pools here and watch the seals and sea lions (and hear them bark). Plus the scenic, panoramic views are second to none.

Close by are Sunset Bay and Shore Acres State Park. Shore Acres is filled with native plants and a rose garden but it is most famous at holiday time for the many light displays.

Just south of Shore Acres, but still within Cape Arago State Park, is Simpson’s Reef Overlook and Wayside. Be sure and watch for the signs as it is easy to miss and looks merely like a modest turn-out.

If you roll your windows down, you will hear the barking, groaning and baying of thousands of pinnipeds as they roll around in the onshore winds. With their density and color, they can be mistaken for the rock itself. Cormorants, Murres, Puffins, Petrels and Terns dot the ridges and skies here. And, this is an excellent place to spot a spouting Gray Whale farther out to sea.

Bring your binoculars for a closer look at the rocks that are about a quarter of a mile off shore. Or just enjoy the beautiful view. This is another photo taken by our friend, Piane. www.umpquahaven.com is about 55 miles away, so stop in and say hello on your way to Simpson’s Reef Wayside.



Snowy Plover Nesting Season

The Snowy Plover, a shorebird, can only be described as cute. They are just cute critters. On the West Coast, they are considered endangered. This is why their nesting grounds on the Oregon Coast are roped off and protected during nesting season. They nest in the sand and those nests are difficult to discern. So just don’t walk past the roped off areas.

The season for nesting grounds protection is March 15 through September 15 each year. They nest in the dry sand and not the wet sand and nothing is permitted in the restricted areas—no people, pets, ATVs, vehicles, campfires, horses, kites or bicycles allowed.

There are 18 miles of Oregon Coast devoted to the protection of the Snowy Plover’s nesting grounds including areas of the North Spit of Coos Bay, New River/Floras Lake south of Bandon and just south of Florence.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed these Oregon Coast cuties as endangered in 1993. In the 30 years hence, the population has increased dramatically thanks to management and the public that recreates on the beaches.

At Florence, the Snowy Plovers share the beach with a very active ATV population. However, when you climb up over the dune, the ATVs must travel north to ride. Turning south is the protected nesting grounds and it is very peaceful and quite there.

And if you walk the beach north with the ATVs, you will come across small flocks of Snowy Plovers feeding in the shallow surf. They will move together as you approach and may take flight briefly but not far off the sand as they don’t fly much or very high. Mostly they patter across the sandy surf close to the drier sand. It is a thrilling sight to see.

Come visit us at www.umpquahaven.com as we are just 36 miles from the Snowy Plover nesting grounds near Florence and 45 to 70 miles from Coos Bay and Bandon respectively. It’s a fun day trip to the beach!



Picture of the Day

There are still some storms traveling through Wyoming, but spring is on its way. However, up in the high country in Star Valley, the snow and cooler temperatures linger. These two photos were taken just south of Star Valley a few days ago by a family member. They could be winter or spring—sometimes in the high country it’s hard to tell the difference. The temperatures are still icy with daytime temps in the 30s to 40s and some night time temps at 15 degrees. Spring comes late at 6,000 feet! Ah, but the plus is you won’t find prettier or more spectacular scenery anywhere else!

A Bach Bash in Langlois!

Some time ago we wrote about the very small town of Langlois, Oregon between Coos Bay and Bandon. On March 31st, Langlois is celebrating the 333rd birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach. Local musicians are inviting the public to a Bach Birthday Party and Concert on Sunday, April 8, at 3 PM in the famous Langlois Cheese Factory.

Local musicians, along with special guests, will be performing several pieces for small ensembles consisting of flute and piano, violin and piano, recorder and piano and cello solo. Plus, the bigger work of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4.

The event is sponsored by Cardas Audio and Bain Insurance and presented by The Dead Composers’ Fan Club and Composer Comix. Tickets are $10.00 and available in Bandon at the Bandon Mercantile, in Port Orford at the Hawthorne Gallery and in Langlois at the Langlois Market. Tickets are also available on Tuesday through Sunday evenings at Angelo’s Italy Restaurant in Bandon. If you need more information, contact Landucci at 541-260-1644 or landucci.christine@yahoo.com.

Don’t miss this exciting Oregon Coast event. In the meantime, enjoy the rerun of our earlier post all about Langlois, Oregon.

I love to visit and write about out of the way or unknown places like Hartville, Wyoming (watch for a future blog about this historic place). Today, though, it’s going to be Langlois, Oregon. If you’ve heard of Langlois, you must have been to Oregon. While it is on the Coast Highway 101, it is the kind of place you’d probably just drive right through after having visited north in Bandon or trying to get north to Bandon.

Named for an early Oregon pioneer, William Langlois, the town boasted 177 humans in the 2010 census. The locals pronounce the name as “Langless.” This unincorporated community claims to be famous.

Actually, it is famous. In the past, it was famous for the cheese making that went on until the factory burned down in 1957. It was never rebuilt. 

There is now an open-air barn on the site where concerts are held by groups like the Crooked Still.

The Langlois Market claims its hot dogs are world famous. They are made with both beef and pork and served with a secret family mustard recipe and just the right kind of pickle. People come from near and far just to have one of these dogs!  http://www.langloismarket.com

For breakfast, there isn’t a better place than a greasy spoon café and Langlois has one housed in a somewhat quaint building! The reviews on their Facebook page are all good!

Langlois also boasts Raincoast Arts, a gallery filled with regional handmade items, paintings and photographs, in a building that has survived from the town’s hey-day. Their Facebook page has some great photos of the beautiful items within.

While this tiny community has no public school anymore, it does have a library and a community church.

Located about 2 miles inland from the ocean, Langlois does have its own beautiful places. One is Langlois Mountain.

You can take in all the beauty of Oregon’s scenic mountain forests at the retreat http://www.highlandwoodsgroupgetaway.com/contact-us

Nearby lakes and waterways, including the Floras Creek, a tributary of the New River, weave their way in and around Langlois. Langlois is known as the Gateway to America’s Wild River Coast!

There are other historic buildings here, like the hotel, and more country to see. And the beautiful Pacific Ocean isn’t very far away. If you get to Bandon, take some extra time to travel the 14 miles south to explore the historic and very quaint community of Langlois. It is an easy day trip from www.umpquahaven.com. Stop in and see us on your way to Langlois!

Whale Watch Week

It is again time for watching the whales migrate on the Oregon Coast. March 24 through the 31st is prime time to watch them travel back north during this migration time. We are reposting our winter whale watch article for you to find some of the best places to view the spouting whales along the coast!

The Oregon Coast is famous for its Grey Whales. When visitors from all over the world are here and learn about the whales, well, everyone wants to see one. There are expeditions you can take to see the whales and Depot Bay is famous for their boats out into the ocean to view the whales that hang not far offshore. But a good, fun time can be had from shore where they have the Whale Watching Spoken Here Programs.

Trained volunteers are posted in various places along the Oregon Coast to help guide visitors in watching the Grey Whale migrations. Right now is prime whale watching season as 20,000 Grey Whales are traveling south (north now) to the warmth of the waters at Baja, Mexico (to the waters of Oregon, Washington, Canada and Alaska). In March (now) they’ll travel back again. Our favorite place to watch is on the platform looking out over the dunes at Winchester Bay with the Umpqua River Lighthouse behind us.

View from the platform to the south.


View from the platform to the north

The extremely endangered Grey Whale is a migrating baleen whale. They can be as big a 40 tons and live from 55 to 70 years. The gray patches and white mottling on dark skin give them the name of Gray Whale. These are the whales that migrate from their winter breeding grounds off the coast of Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in Alaska and back again. They have been seen popping up around the globe in small numbers possibly repopulating long lost breeding grounds not used for centuries. Worldwide protection of the species is what is bringing them back. One lady Grey Whale has made a 22,000-kilometer migration across the Pacific Ocean. Scientists believe this demonstrates how endangered species are making major changes in their lifestyles. They are amazing creatures.

This is the live Whale Watching webcam. You can watch the ocean to spot the migrating Grey Whales this week! This is from December. When they have spring, 2018 posted, we will update this.

Whale Watching at the Umpqua River Lighthouse State Park is just a short 20-minute drive from Umpqua River Haven (www.umpquahaven.com) Stop in and say hello on your way or stay with us for a bit while you visit the coast to see the whales! And visit our favorite lighthouse.

Dance Always!

Arizona is host to much cultural activity from Scottsdale’s art galleries to Tucson’s Opera. From many varieties of museums everywhere to the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. From Tucson’s Irish step dancers to the Phoenix Ballet and Ballet Arizona. But, one very colorful multi-cultural activity is reserved just for folks like you. Anyone can participate at any age with or without a partner.

International Folk Dancing is alive and very well all over Arizona from the high country of Prescott to the Southern Sonoran Desert Country of Green Valley and the in-between places of Tucson and Phoenix. In Green Valley on any Sunday afternoon, you will find them dancing:

On most Sunday afternoons you will also find them dancing in Prescott:

And once a year (this year it was St. Patrick’s Day) on a Sunday you will find many of these faces joined with those from the Tucson International Folk Dancers and the Phoenix International Folk Dancers at the annual Phoenix Folk Dance Festival. Held in recent years at the Shepard of the Valley Church in Glendale, this event is faithfully attended by International Folk Dancers from all over Arizona.

Einstein said it: “Dance for your brain!” And it’s true! Dancing makes you smarter as evidenced by many studies:  “Dancing Makes You Smarter, Longer. … A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages,” Richard Powers.

While International Dancers know this, that’s not the reason they participate and attend gatherings like the one in Phoenix. They do it for the fun, friendship and food. Yes, dancers love to eat and their love of everything ethnic contributes to some very yummy potlucks. It is also great physical exercise and dancing is often recommended by doctors as a way to stay fit. Folk dancing is an easy way to get that exercise because to quote this teacher: “If you can walk, you can folk dance.”

And dance they did starting with, what else, Pot Of Gold:

And the dancing continued:

Dancers from Phoenix:

Sometimes they would take a break and visit for short periods but never for long:

Dancers from Green Valley (top 2) and Tucson:

There are always dance performances at this event between dance sets. This year the Tucson International Dancers gave a performance of 6 Romanian dances with Romanian cheers singing throughout their performance. They were excellent and danced with great enthusiasm allowing everyone attending to truly enjoy their dancing:

For the second performance of the day, the Phoenix Serbian Dancers youth divisions performed admirably. They were also adorable at both age levels:

Prescott dancers:

Note all the wonderful costuming. Some of it is authentic from the many countries represented. Some of it is authentic imitation made by the creative hands of the wearers who tend to every detail to ensure authenticity. Represented here are several examples of both:

The Wild Cossack makes his own costuming that is different each year:

Joan has new red boots this year to compliment her Polish ensemble:

Karen (Tucson) is one of the Romanian dancers in costume from that country. Dick (Prescott) appears to be similarly clad although he usually dances in Serbian shoes that are leather and have long curled, pointed toes:

Millie (Phoenix) has been dancing with the PIFD so long no one remembers when she started. She is usually dressed in Polish costume:

Dee (Green Valley) varied from her usual, authentic Russian costume this year in this interesting ensemble. Many countries have aprons as part of women’s costumes, and embroidered blouses.

And the leader of this dance is one of the leaders of the Phoenix dancers. She did much to make this event happen.

There are always children present as this is a family activity. This fella was described by his dad as a dancer in training:

We cannot pass up the individual section without mentioning this gentleman. He is Joan’s hubby and did a stellar job of announcing, virtually managing the afternoon’s dance program:

This Phoenix costume was unique:

Note the bright colors which are mostly red, white and black with a smattering of blues thrown in. Red, white and black are the standard colors of the Balkan countries and extend into other surrounding countries that will add blues and even purples. This year there was a lot of green!

The group indulged this author by gathering for a group shot. The full group photo is at the top but there were also some great close-ups of sections of the group:

It was a delightful day even if you were just watching. The weather was perfect as it was not too hot and there was a breeze. Dancers get warm in a hurry. The time was up and many left as there were some long drives home. But the dancing continued with the sounds of the Balkans wafting out through the door as dancers went to their vehicles. If ever you are in Phoenix during March, check with the Phoenix International Folk Dancers on their website or their Facebook page to find out the date for this fun event.

Folk dancers have friends all over the world and while they were not in attendance, we remember our FD friends in Florence, Oregon—the Oregon Coast International Dancers. Miss you and wish you could have been with us!

Here’s a video from this event from the Phoenix International Folk Dancers: