Oregon Coast Marine Wildlife

Recently at Florence, OR, on the coast, visitors spotted Otters doing what Otters do best—eating shell fish and playing in the water. They didn’t hang out long before going back into their burrow. However, they are residents here and can be seen from the Gazebo Park in Old Town Florence on Bay St.


The Oregon Coast is home to a variety of marine wildlife. Critters can be seen in the wild all up and down the coast as you travel or stop to view. We are going to visit with a few right now.

Seals are a big attraction for visitors and residents alike. They can often be seen resting on the coast outcroppings. Here at Seal Rock (near Newport) many have gathered to rest upon the rocks.SealsOnRocksAtSealRockOcean 

The seals and sea lions often cruise in the bays hunting for fish. They also cruise around folks who are fishing and attempt to steal their fish. They are frequently successful. We caught sight of this one at the public fishing docks in Winchester Bay.


Crabbing is a very popular activity for residents as well as visitors. Grab a crab trap and some bait and you can have an entertaining day and yummy dinner you caught yourself. The Dungeness Crabs are the biggest and best eating, but make sure to follow the rules about what you can keep and what needs to be returned to the water. Size and gender are important.


Along with the marine life there are a variety of birds. Many are usually only found near water, but some you can find anywhere. Like this crow caught at take-off.


One of the bigger water birds is the crane. This one had just taken off from the beach near Newport.


Everyone knows what a seagull is. Here at the ocean they are bigger than inland gulls. Seagulls have distinct personalities and no two are the same. While walking across the bridge at Charleston one time, a gull dive-bombed me several times. I couldn’t see anything it was protecting but it sure didn’t want me there. This photo is outside a room window at the Embarcadero in Newport. This gull hung out on the porch watching (me—yikes!).


There are a lot of ducks in the bays. They nest on the banks and raise their babies here. These two Mallards were swimming in Winchester Bay.


A really fun thing to do is tide pooling. There are some great places to do this like Cape Arago and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. We can point you in the right direction. When the tide rolls out, it leaves behind many interesting ocean creatures in the shallow pools. This purple sea star is one, along with the sea anemones and turban snails.


Everyone’s favorites (well, except for the commercial fisher folk who say they eat too much fish) are the sea lions. Outside of the caves north of Florence, you will find them many places. Our favorite viewing place is the dock they’ve claimed at Newport. They are very entertaining.


It is easy to find wildlife here on the coast. When you drop in to visit us at Umpqua River Haven, we’ll send you to the best places for wildlife viewing. And don’t forget the seagulls. They, too, are very entertaining like this one that posed for the camera.


Cleveland Rocks – 3

The late 1800s and early 1900s were Cleveland’s “hey-days.” Many immigrants were attracted here because of the work in industry. They brought with them their traditions, one of which was religion. And they built churches….big, beautiful churches.

I counted 1,041 churches in a directory of Cleveland churches. The most (231) of any denomination were Baptist. Only 162 Catholic and 126 Non-Denominational. There is one Unknown-Denomination (huh?) and one Vineyard (another huh?). Further research would be fun but our purpose here is to display photos of some of the historic churches on our tour. Not all of Cleveland’s churches are historic but the ones that are are quite beautiful.

As we climbed out of the Flats, at the top of the hill we came upon St. Malachi, one of the historic Catholic churches. This original church was built 150 years ago for the Irish immigrants. It burned down in 1943 after being completely renovated. The building you see is the newer (1940s) building and very much still historic. The original rectory building still stands. Originally there was a lighted cross on top of the church that actually lit the way for sailors coming in. The existing cross continues to be lighted as a symbol of that earlier time.


Downtown is the historic Old Stone Church on Public Square. This is the oldest building on Public Square and is the second church built in Cleveland in 1855. The building has had a tragic history as the first one was razzed before the 1855 one was built. Then fires toppled the steeple but the main building remained in tact. This is a Presbyterian church. Here are two photos. In the first one, the church is towered over by historic, brick as well as modern buildings. The second photo shows the front entry.



Ohio City (more about that later) has some of the more historic churches in Cleveland. This church was founded in 1842 and was known as “God’s Barn” due to its design. A new building was built in 1874-75 and is one of the oldest and best known landmarks on the near west side.



St. Ignatius high school’s historic brick building was opened in 1890. I’ve included it here because it could be mistaken for a church. This is the original building and is a beautiful one also located in Ohio City. The school, run by Roman Catholic, Jesuit Priests, has a long history of excellence in education.


Historic Trinity Cathedral on Euclid Ave (remember Euclid as we’ll visit there later) was built in 1901. The Episcopal Congregation it houses is actually much older as it began in 1816 on a much smaller scale.


Masjid Bilal on Euclid Ave, one of the nation’s first African American Mosques, was founded in 1937 by Imam Clyde (Jones) Rahman. Imam Rahman grew up in Mississippi, the son of a share-cropper. Later in life he became an Islamic minister. He once stated, ” Our Koran does not even hint that we should take innocent life and it is a disgrace to Islam for any Muslim to support terrorism.” He spent much of his career working with ministers of all faiths for peace.


There are many, many more historic churches in Cleveland. We just didn’t pass by all of them so this only gives you a flavor. When you visit, you will be impressed by them and all of the historic buildings.

Watch for our next post about Cleveland’s Public Square.

Charleston, Oregon Seafood, Beer and Wine Festival

If you are on the Oregon Coast this weekend – August 13/14 – don’t miss Charleston, Oregon’s festival celebration. It includes vendors, arts and crafts, along with great seafood and the libations to go with. Charleston is a fun place to visit. We especially like Kinnee’s Seashells and Gifts! You can get all the details here: http://charlestonseafoodfestival.com/

And don’t forget the August 27/28 Blackberry Festival in Coos Bay (not far from Charleston).  https://umpquariverhaven.com/2016/07/31/oregon-blackberries/

Great weather and fun times on the Oregon Coast right now. Stop in and say “Hello” to us at Umpqua River Haven as you pass through on the way to the coast. We are 2 miles east of Scottsburg and 20 miles west of Elkton on Highway 38. You can’t miss our sign! We’d love to meet you any time!Sign-1




Cleveland Rocks – 2

Cleveland, Ohio, is back on top in the sports world. The Cavilers won the National Championship and the “Tribe” is working its way toward the World Series. On a recent visit we learned that the Lake Erie Monsters (hockey) are the Calder Cup Champions for 2016, a win shortly before the Cavs victory. It was actually hockey that broke Cleveland’s losing streak.

Great as it is for Cleveland to be a championship city once again, the city has much to offer outside of sports. We took in some of the offerings recently on a Lolly the Trolley afternoon tour of the city. We took a ton of photos so this will be a series of more than one post. We will try and give you a flavor of Cleveland’s history and the current day atmosphere.

Before we start, though, here is a photo of Cleveland’s most famous historic building, The Terminal Tower. For many years it was the tallest building in Cleveland and busy with trains and shops. It now stands in front of Tower City which contains shops and a Hard Rock Cafe. You can still go up in the tower on specific days when it is open with a purchased ticket. Note this building because you will see it often here. I took more photos of it than I have of my kids. You will recognize it as we go around Cleveland.


It was a cloudy day for the most part so things look a bit grey in the photos. It was a good day for touring being a little cooler without direct sunlight.

Lolly the Trolley is actually 3 trolleys that tour simultaneously on different routes. It is located in the “Flats” on the west side of the Cuyahoga (crooked river) River. Headquarters for trolley tours is located in the historic Powerhouse building that also houses a restaurant and the Cleveland Aquarium.LollyTheTrolley

                                                 Powerhouse – do you recognize anything else?Powerhouse

We start our tour in The Flats which spans both sides of the Cuyahoga River. The west side was the industrial side and the east side contained the warehouses. Most of this has been abandoned by industry and warehousing but some years back someone had the bright idea to revive this area. They put restaurants and bars on the ground floor of warehouses and turned the rest of the warehouse buildings into apartments. It worked. People patronized the businesses – a fun night out in The Flats! – and moved into the warehouse apartments. The buildings are actually now historic, brick buildings. Unfortunately after awhile crime crept into The Flats fun and the area again deteriorated and became abandoned. Then in more recent years it has again been revived with retail stores and restaurants on the ground floors and apartments turned condo on the upper floors of the warehouses. The Flats are back again!


Can you spot the seagull in the above photo?

Cleveland houses 21 bridges, some of which are in the Flats. There are draw bridges, swing bridges, jack bridges and one you’ll see I don’t remember the name of. They all open to let water craft pass through. These below are in the Flats. There is a swing bridge we may see in another post that we watched as it swung out of the way for some boats to pass through and then swung back again. Reminded us of the swing bridge at Reedsport, OR, not far from Umpqua River Haven. The Reedsport bridge swings all the way around and is biggerFlatsBridges 

This brick building is typical of the historic buildings in the Flats.


This next view includes the east side warehouse buildings turned to condos and the Nautica Queen on the west side. The Nautica Queen provides a variety of tours on the Cuyahoga River. That might be our next excursion—to ride the Queen and see the sights up and down the river.


Here’s the Cleveland skyline taken from the parking lot where we started. Do you recognize anything?


This building is on the route out of the Flats as we moved along on the tours. We think these historic, old brick buildings are beautiful.


The following photo is of the Ohio and Erie Canal which starts here and eventually makes its way to Pennsylvania. The canal was built in the 1820s and early 1830s. It was hand dug by workers who were paid 30 cents a day and a jigger of whiskey. The foilage seen in the center of the photo drops down into the canal.


 Well, that’s the start of our tour. There is much more to come so be sure to come back for the next installment.

Oregon Blackberries

Blackberries here! Blackberries there! Blackberries everywhere! Blackberries grow wild in Oregon along with raspberries, salmonberries and huckleberries.

Oregon’s mild, wet climate is friendly to berry growing and blueberries and cranberries are big crops here. Blackberries and raspberries are also grown as crops. The blackberries are the largest in size and can be sweet and juicy. The wild berries have been harvested by the Pacific Northwest Native Americans for hundreds of years.

There are several different kinds of blackberries and the Marionberry is a cross between two of them. Marionberries were developed here in Oregon and make delicious jams and pies as do all the berries.

Here at Umpqua River Haven we are fringed by wild blackberries. They can sometimes over-grow and get out of hand but we manage to keep them pruned. Pruning also aids the production of fruit as it goes. It is a treat to be able to walk out in the yard and pick fresh blackberries to add to breakfast or for a treat any time. And then there is pie…..

Oregon celebrates the annual Blackberry Harvest August 27 – 28 at the 2016 Blackberry Arts Festival in downtown Coos Bay. This event features local artist’s jewelry, crafts, photography and more and area vendors. The Blackberry Jam will again be presented by K-DOCK 92.9. The jam features local musicians and the Bay Area Teen Idol vocal competition.

If you are this way at the end of August, you can bunk your RV with us at www.umpquahaven.com for a quiet place to stay while you take in the Blackberry Festival at Coos Bay, which is a short, 45 minute drive away. We just might let you pick your own blackberries, too.BlackberryPie

Oregon Coast Music Festival–Classical Week

The  38th Annual Oregon Coast Music Festival is running from July 21st to July 30th in Coos Bay, Oregon. Music venues from pops to country, from bluegrass to Jazz and on into classical and much more. Klezmer music is on the agenda this year. This very popular music fest attracts musicians from all over the country and even the world. Musicians from home town bands to symphony orchestras are drawn to the Oregon Coast’s summer time of music-making. There is something for everyone here.

Currently, James Paul is celebrating his 25th year as director and principal conductor of the festival music. Paul is one of our most distinguished and respected conductors and has served in a variety of capacities with symphonies all over the country. He has also appeared with symphonies around the world. Paul is a native of Forest Grove, Oregon, and studied at prestigious music conservatories both here and abroad. He has also received several honored music awards during his career.

The orchestra is now preparing for two upcoming concerts this week. July 26th is “Three Concert Favorites” including works by Chadwick, Mozart and Elgar. The second concert is July 28th and is a pops concert, “A Festival of Film Favorites.” These concerts are put together rather quickly, but with musicians returning year after year that also play all year long, plus new musicians, they are as polished and professional as in any concert hall.

The concluding concert is July 30, “Classic and Romantic,” with symphony works by Prokofiev and Rachmaninov. In and around all of the orchestral/symphonic music are woven country, jazz, bluegrass and Klezmer. So….whatever your preference in music is, you will find it at the Oregon Coast Music Festival. Come on out and join in the musical fun!


Also not to be missed (opps, we might have) is the first music fest over the weekend in World Famous Langlois. We blogged about Langlois awhile back. A couple of the bands playing are Allen Giardinelli and the GC Hot Club (Hot Club of Bandon) and the Port Orford Blues and Dance Club Band. This event is being held at the Langlois Cheese Factory which has built an outdoor stage. Great fun!


Oak Creek Canyon

Travels this year took a wide and lengthy detour with a stay in Arizona. While there, we visited the second biggest tourist attraction in Arizona, Oak Creek Canyon.

About 10 million years ago the ancestral canyon formed along the Oak Creek Fault Line. The canyon alternately filled with gravel and lava but eventually the modern canyon was formed by erosion from Oak Creek. When you visit, you are visiting something very ancient as well as beautiful.OakCreek-1This canyon is beautiful with vista-type views in places, trees and rock formations. Oak Creek is a tributary of the Verde River, still flows at the bottom of the canyon and is one of very few perennial streams in Northern Arizona’s high desert country.

Our first stop was at the vista view turn off designed just for viewing the canyon. Pictures don’t do it justice!


Here it is zoomed in.


Here, too, are Native American vendors with their handmade jewelry and more displayed on tables under canopies. The canopies help protect from the sun and heat, although in this high country it is cooler. We didn’t get any photos of them this day but we did pick up a pretty bracelet for a friend. The jewelry is quality made with quality silver and semi-precious stones and very beautiful.

As you travel down the canyon from the north (Flagstaff), there are camping areas and day spots to pull into. You can walk the creek or even fish if you have a license.

Lower are the many unique rock formations that lead into Sedona. Here are a few of them.





This wasn’t our first visit to Oak Creek Canyon and we never tire of the ride and views. If you get to Arizona near I-17, this drive is best seen driving north to south and is not to be missed!

Peace? Yes! It is possible!

We MUST stop killing each other!  “He wanted to kill white people” isn’t something “he” just thought up—it has been festering for some time.  But….the blatant racism on all sides must end. We must learn to at least tolerate each other without resentment. Learning to love each other would be better. “Teach your children well (better)!”

In keeping with this personal philosophy, I sought out the words of the Dalai Lama and quote him here:

“Whether one believes in religion or not, there is no one who does not appreciate love and compassion. Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents; later in life, when facing the sufferings of disease and old age, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. If at the beginning and end of our lives we depend upon others’ kindness, why, then, in the middle should we not act kindly towards others?

 The development of a kind heart (a feeling of closeness for all human beings) does not involve the religiosity we normally associate with conventional religious practice. It is not only for people who believe in religion, but is for everyone regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. It is for anyone who considers himself or herself, above all, a member of the human family and who sees things from this larger and longer perspective. This is a powerful feeling that we should develop and apply; instead, we often neglect it, particularly in our prime years when we experience a false sense of security.”

“I have written the above lines
To tell my constant feeling.
Whenever I meet even a ‘foreigner’,
I have always the same feeling:
‘I am meeting another member of the human family.,
This attitude has deepened
My affection and respect for all beings.
May this natural wish be
My small contribution to world peace.
I pray for a more friendly,
More caring, and more understanding
Human family on this planet.
To all who dislike suffering,
Who cherish lasting happiness –
This is my heartfelt appeal.”

There are times we need to stand up for ourselves, even defend ourselves, but,the Dalai Lama’s philosophy is very simple:  If everyone were kind to everyone the problems would disappear! Be kind always!

Picture Of The Day

We’ve taken some detours on our travels this spring/summer. Currently we are in Wyoming which is about as beautiful as it gets. It’s been hot here but cooled a bit and then some storms came up. In the process, we got some daytime fireworks for the picture/s of the day. While the photos do not do justice to the moment, still, we hope you will enjoy them as much as we enjoyed being present to take them.

The first shot is over the barn on the Divide Ranch in the middle of the day. 


It was a double rainbow but we couldn’t get far enough away to really capture it well.


Here’s one more shot. As I watch the hometown fireworks tonight—-and they are terrific—I can’t help but think Mother Nature provides the best “fireworks” of all.


We hope you have a very safe and happy 4th of July! And….never forget why we celebrate this date every year!

The Astoria-Mergler Bridge – 50 Years!

We have visited Astoria, OR previously and viewed this bridge. But, this year, all year long, the Astoria-Megler Bridge is celebrating 50 years of service to the people of Oregon and Washington. We thought it deserved its own blog post!

This bridge extends across the Columbia River between Astoria, OR and Point Ellice near Megler, WA. It is located 14 miles from the mouth of the river and is 4.1 miles long. It was the last completed segment of U.S. Route 101 between Olympia, WA, and Los Angeles, CA. It is the longest continuous steel cantilever through truss bridge in North America.

When I visited Astoria I was looking to find sites from the Lewis and Clark Expedition which ended at the mouth of the Columbia River. Located on Cape Disappointment in Washington State is the 621 acre Lewis and Clark State Park. To get there from Oregon one must cross the bridge. It was a somewhat stormy day with clouds, fog, rain and wind when I headed across the bridge.

When the wind blows strongly enough here, the bridge sways perceptibly. It was a bit scary. But I was committed to getting to the Washington side and head to the L & C State Park. I ventured across probably frustrating those behind me at the slow pace I was going. 4 miles is a long way when the road underneath is moving side-to-side.


Once across the bridge, the road takes a left turn to travel on a very scenic route that is mere feet away from the open ocean. Remember, though, it was a cloudy, rainy, foggy and windy day. The ocean came right up to meet you as the waves washed over the road. No huge waves but still lapping up onto the pavement. I drove for a short distance and then considered how much fun hiking in the state park in the rain and wind would be. Not much. I found a place to turn around and drove back through ocean waters to the bridge.

This bridge is very safe. It is designed to bend in the wind so to speak. I had just never been on a moving bridge before.

If you are on the Oregon Coast and near the northern tip of Oregon, visit Astoria with all of the many attractions there (check out 2 previous blog posts about Astoria). Don’t miss traveling across this unique bridge! It’s a fun experience even in the wind!