Rhody Days 2018

It is once again time for Rhody Days in Florence, Oregon, on the coast!  Starting Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20, all the usual, fun activities will take place and maybe a few new ones, too. There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors in town for a day or the weekend as this is a most popular coast event. Come join in the fun. Our post from 2015 below will let you in on many of the activities you can enjoy! Check out the new photo added in 2018 of the Budweiser Clydesdales!

It’s Rhody Days weekend again!!!  A short 45-minute drive from Umpqua River Haven, Florence, OR is home to this festival every year mid-May.


The above photo was taken in our park, Umpqua River Haven. There are many varieties of “Rhodies” and Oregon has them all. Wild ones are usually pink and do grow wild along the coast road near Florence. But you will find them planted everywhere.

When we first came to Oregon and visited the coast, we didn’t know what those beautiful flowers were. But we soon discovered they were wild “Rhodies” on the coast road just south of Windy Bay.


At the Florence Events Center, many Florence gardeners display in the competition the Rhododendrons they have grown. The usual award categories are in evidence and it is major eye candy to visit during the festival competition.


Florence is a busy place during Rhody Days and Old Town on the Siuslaw River is host to a variety of visitors. Not to be missed are the Rhody Run Bikers. Bikers from all over the country arrive and park their Harley’s on the streets of Old Town. It’s quite a sight!


In 2015, Budweiser brought their Clydesdales to the Rhody Festival. They were housed in the middle of town in a big tent-barn. They are magnificent to see up close and in person and having them there was a real treat for everyone.

There are a variety of events and activities including the parade, street vendor fair, 5K run, carnival and more. You can meet Queen Rhododendra and King of the Coast. Our personal favorite event is the Classic Car Show. Yummy cars from all over are parked in the big parking lot on Highway 101 in the center of town. Our friend, Myron Aho, started the Rhody Days Car Show and it has grown big over the years. Bring your Classic Car and join in the fun!


Come stay with us at Umpqua River Haven away from the crowds (hard to get a room on the coast at this time anyway) and enjoy Rhody Days in Florence the weekend of May 18 – 20! If you miss this particular weekend, come anyway. The Rhodys are still in bloom and the coast is beautiful!


Shore Acres State Park

May is the time of year to see the many wild Rhododendrons in bloom, along with the many varieties of them that are planted, up and down the Oregon Coast. ‘Rhody’s’ are celebrated throughout Oregon and particularly on the coast. There are contests, events, motorcycle rallies and car shows planned around the time when the ‘Rhodys’ are in full bloom.

Mother’s Day is a special time at Shore Acres State Park. The Southwestern Oregon Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will be on hand with their expertise to show displays and answer any questions about ‘Rhodys’ in the Garden.   From 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday, May 13, 2018, you can visit the ‘Rhodys’ in bloom and learn all about them. The Bay Area Artist Association will hold their paint-out in the Garden and serve refreshments during the same hours. The Friends of Shore Acres will also host refreshments in the Garden House serving cookies, punch and coffee and it’s always good!

This is a great way to help mom celebrate her day. It is a free event with parking just $5.00. The park is 12 miles southwest of Coos Bay on the Cape Arago Highway right on the ocean. Mom will love you for treating her this way. The following photo is of one of Umpqua River Haven’s Rhody’s in full bloom.

You’ve read about Shore Acres State Park a bit before, especially the Christmas holiday light displays. But, there is much more to this beautiful, botanical garden. The park sits up on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean not far past Charleston, Oregon. The core of this property was originally the home of pioneer timber baron Louis Simpson who built a large mansion with formal gardens also overlooking the ocean.

The State of Oregon purchased the property in 1942 and added land as it became available. The mansion no longer exists but there is an observation area where it once was where you can read all the history. However, the caretaker’s cottage survives and is now the Garden House.

The gardens were let go until 1970 when they were restored even grander than before with flowers and plants from all over the world. One of our favorite parts of the gardens is hidden a bit. There is an area with rows of all kinds of roses! Visit the rose garden with us as you view photos taken by a family member one year when we were there.

There are, of course, many kinds of flowers in the gardens. The following are just a few we took photos of on our stroll through the gardens. If you know what the ones are that we could not identify, please comment and tell us what they are!


The following 3 are a mystery to us! We thought them unique and quite beautiful. 

Shore Acres State Park is about an hour and 20 minutes from www.umpquahaven.com.  Stop in and say ‘Hi’ on your way there or stay with us!

One more photo from Umpqua River Haven. This time our pink Rhody in full bloom! We love our Rhodys!

Picture Of The Day

Once again it’s several pictures of the day on a family adventure day starting with heading out of Thayne, Wyoming.

We went to the town square in Jackson,  Wyoming like any other tourist. Took this shot of one of the antler arches. Wyoming is currently having a “That’s Wyoming” contest. You pick up the flag and snap photos with the flag in the pictures and post on Instagram. We have 6 or 7 posted now. I think there’s a prize of some kind but we’re just having fun snapping the pix. I have entered the actual photo contest with a few of this week’s pictures. That is a family member’s back you see in this picture.

Everyone asks if we’ve seen a moose and today we spotted this one in downtown Jackson. He was very cooperative for our “That’s Wyoming” picture.

We finished playing tourist in town and drove up the steepest mountain road in the US to the top of Teton Pass. The next two photos are on the way up the mountain. Along the way, some idiot passed us on a double yellow line. We were driving the speed limit. We honked at him. But this is the scenery going up.

Yesterday there was an avalanche on the pass and they bombed the snow in order to get it under control. That was after getting all the cars off the road. And believe me when I tell you there are plenty of cars and trucks and semis and more. This photo shows how much snow is still here.

At the summit, we did snap our “That’s Wyoming” picture but we took this one just for you!

The sign in the corner might not be clear but here’s another one of it announcing that you are looking at Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole is a real ‘hole’ surrounded by mountains. It encompasses Jackson, Wilson, Teton Village and other areas within the hole. This sign points the way to the view.

We hung out for awhile, helping some people from Belgium deal with their overheated radiator. Then, looking around we saw this. That little spot is a Wyoming Prairie Dog. Not sure what it was doing up so high as they normally live much lower on the actual prairie. But there it was parked in the snow.

One story about today’s adventure is that we were driving back down the switchback roads and came up behind a Semi (you know, the BIG tractor-trailers). It was smokin’.  Literally.  Its breaks were smoking and so was the rubber on its tires. At least one of those many tires was blown. License plate showed it was from Florida. Like he’d ever seen a mountain before! There is a catch-net which was about 1/4 mile away but he found a wide place in the road—not easy on a mountainside—and pulled over and we were able to pass. We weren’t sure we wanted to be in front of him but his smoke was scary. And smelly! We passed the catch-net and felt better about doing that. Do not know how he fared.

At the bottom heading into town is this sign.

The road took us to the outskirts of Jackson heading back to Thayne. We made the inevitable grocery store stop and then on the road again. It’s about 60 miles but the construction slows you down a bit. We must have passed 6 or 7 state troopers/sheriff’s vehicles. ‘Tis the season so slow down!                                                                                                                                                                                      Passing through Etna, Wyoming (almost home to Thayne), there is a small RV park alongside the road. Some of it is a bit rough but it’s home to those that live there. At one end is the most bizarre thing—a large, white chicken. Have no clue why, but it is certainly a landmark. It is on the left in the photo.

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Wyoming adventure—we sure did!



Picture of the Day

It’s actually several pictures of the day. A very scenic jaunt in Wyoming today. It was 73 degrees and sunny with puffy, white clouds above the mountains. Below are the several photos taken and their locations starting in Star Valley, leaving Thayne, Wyoming. This is the scenery there.

A short distance from Thayne is Alpine, Wyoming where you turn and head through the Snake River Canyon.

It is a beautiful drive through the canyon on into Hoback.

At Hoback you and turn and head to Pinedale or go straight on into Jackson which is what we did. We passed through Jackson on our way to the Grand Teton Mountains.

There were bus-loads of Chinese tourists and a smattering of them everywhere we went. Even here at Jackson Lake. It was so spectacular with the reflections in the water that I’m posting 2 photos of this lake.

You can see there is still ice on the lake in the foreground. It was near blizzard conditions in this part of Wyoming about 10 days or less ago.

Behind the photographer is the Jackson Lake Dam.

Just down the road from here is Jenny Lake. Following are 3 photos of this lake.

Returning to the highway, we cross it and find a road in the park that leads to what I am told is the most photographed barn in the world. I had to post 2 photos of this wonderful, old barn.

Of course, it is mostly photographed for the background!

And then we went back through Jackson and onto Hoback and back up the Snake River Canyon watching this scenery as we went.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our scenic travels in the Wyoming high country!

Cape Perpetua

Discovered in 1778 by explorer Captain James Cook, Cape Perpetua on the Oregon Coast towers 800 feet above the protected Marine Garden shoreline. And it is pretty much straight up the sheer cliffs. It is the highest viewpoint on the coast accessible by car. When the skies are clear, it is possible to see 37 miles out to sea and along the 70 miles of coastline. The scenic area extends through 2,700 acres of coastal habitat and has been retained for the unusual ecological attributes found here where a spruce rainforest blends into the sea.

Captain Cook is the one who named the cape after Saint Perpetua. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933, the cape became a base camp for young men to learn many different skills. These young men made many of the trails and campgrounds that can still be seen here. Their unique work is identified by the native rock they always used to construct retaining walls and buildings and some of that still remains.  They also planted much of the foliage that is still growing.

There is a great deal of activity here and many sights to see. There are 26 miles of trails through old growth forest, Native American shell middens, The Devil’s Churn, the tide pools and magnificent views. The photo you will see at the bottom is one a family member took at the ocean mouth of the Devil’s Churn. It is a place you can tide pool when the ocean isn’t so stirred up.

There are a variety of other sights to see so be sure and stop in at the visitor’s center to discover them and where to find them and for maps of the trails. When you drive up top, there is a short hike around and you’ve already read about the views. If you are ambitious, you can hike up to the top but be prepared for a long, steep climb. It’s more than worth the time no matter how you get there.

We enjoy visiting Cape Perpetua often from www.umpquahaven.com.  It is a beautiful 61-mile drive along the scenic Umpqua River and then up the beautiful Oregon Coast to the cape. Stop in and say ‘Hi’ on your way or stay with us.

Bisbee, Arizona

Recently one of our family members visited Bisbee, Arizona. It is a fun place to hang out for a day or two with a lot of history and many shops for the tourists.

Photo is looking South on Brewer Gulch which is the main street with all the shops.

Bisbee lies in the Mule Mountains of southeast Arizona about 12 miles from the Mexican border. Bisbee’s rich history is in its mining origins. It was founded in 1880 because of the mining of copper, gold and silver and named in honor of Judge DeWitt Bisbee. DeWitt was one of the financial backers of the Copper Queen Mine located on the south edge of Bisbee.

High-quality turquoise was a by-product of the copper mining along with cuprite, aragonite, wulfenite, malachite, azurite and galena. While you may never have heard of the last six minerals, they are also high quality and can be found in museum collections worldwide.

Bisbee became the Cochise County Seat when the seat was moved from Tombstone to Bisbee in 1929. Bisbee remains Cochise County’s Seat.

In 1917, the miners tried to organize for safer working conditions and better wages but the Phelps Dodge Corporation hired private police to deal with the situation. They moved 1,000 striking miners at gunpoint out of town to Hermanas, New Mexico alleging that they were members of the Industrial Workers of the World. Phelps Dodge wanted to stop unionization.

Some of Bisbee’s history is in its historic buildings. There are homes that once belonged to miners running up the Tombstone Canyon from what is now called Old Bisbee, the town’s historic center. There are 19th-century homes and Victorian homes and many have been restored. The Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum and the Bisbee Restoration Museum both contain evidence of the copper-mining past that happened here.

Photo is of a city park halfway up 100 steps to the street and homes above.

The decline of mining caused a big loss of population and in 1975 the Phelps Dodge Corporation stopped its copper-mining operations at Bisbee. Phelps Dodge cooperated with the town to develop a mine tour and historic interpretation of a portion of the world-renowned Copper Queen Mine. This was an effort to compensate for the economic loss due to the ending of mining here and give the town heritage tourism as a different economic base.

Photo is of the museum.

Bisbee volunteers hauled tons of fallen rock and reinforced the old workings with timbers. The federal Economic Development Administration approved a big grant for the city to help this project and other improvement efforts in the downtown area. It was all to promote the needs of visiting tourists. The Queen Mine Tour opened in 1976 and more than a million visitors have been on the underground mine tour train since then. For a small, Arizona community of a bit over 5,000 in population, that’s a lot of visitors!

Photo:  The Stock Exchange Brewery is where Brewery Gulch got its name.

Continued loss of population and lack of jobs caused housing prices to dramatically drop in the 1960s. Between this and the mild climate and beautiful scenery, artists and hippies from the counterculture filtered in. Bisbee still houses ‘flower children’ and artists who display their art in some of the shops and galleries along the main street.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of Bisbee. After offering this property to anyone interested for $1.00, Phelps-Dodge finally sold it to artists Stephen and Marcia Hutchinson. The couple renovated the hotel to its former glory, along with other buildings in the downtown area they purchased. One of the historic buildings had been the Brewery and Stock Exchange. The Hutchinsons marketed Bisbee as a destination of the authentic, old Southwest. This brought Bisbee to the attention of a developer, Ed Smart.

Photo is the face of the Historic Copper Queen Hotel

Californians are frequent visitors to Bisbee and many have been and are celebrities. One such celeb was John Wayne who stayed at the Copper Queen when he was in town. He became friends with Hutchinson and at some point joined Smart in his real estate enterprises. This was the time artists and hippies flocked to Bisbee from California and the bigger cities in Arizona. Later on, when places like Aspen, Colorado became too expensive, many of those people came to Bisbee also.

Some photos of the interior of the Copper Queen Hotel

              Front Desk

Dining Room

As things developed into the 1990s, more people came to Bisbee and coffee shops and live theater were provided for them. Property values soared and now exceed property values in other areas of southeastern Arizona. “Old Bisbee” which is the historic part of town, thrives now. It was laid out on a pedestrian scale before the automobile and is compact and walkable. It is easy walking even on the hilly slant to peruse all the shops located here.

The Historic Royal Theater

The Queen Copper Mine was subject of the world’s biggest-ever mining takeover in 2007.  Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold bought Phelps Dodge Mining and began preliminary mining. Full mining operations started in 2013 with gold mining in addition to copper. Free-McMoRan has remediated contaminated soil from previous mining operating and donated to the local schools and other civic endeavors, investing in the community and area they do business in.

The Historic American Legion Club Building

Don’t leave Bisbee without visiting one of our favorite and most fascinating stores in Old Bisbee. That is the Killer Bee Store. You may find Reed Booth, the Killer Bee Guy, in residence there. He’s the one who works with the dangerous killer bees, extracting their honey for products in the store.  If he’s there, he’ll tell you all about it and how easy it is to work with these unique bees.  Yeah, right, for him! Don’t miss this!

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.