Surf’s Up!

When you think of surfing, you probably think of the beaches of California and Hawaii. If you’re of a certain age, you might think of Moondoggie and the Kahuna in the “Gidget” movies. But you probably don’t think of the beaches of Oregon as a place for prime ocean surfing.

On one of my first Oregon Coast adventures driving north up the coast, I stopped as I always do, at various sites along the way like Cape Perpetua and Cape Foulweather. At Foulweather, there are viewpoints and on the west side, there is a great view of the beach below. I was taken aback to discover surfers heading out in the water. 

I couldn’t have been more surprised. I had no idea that anyone surfed in the Pacific Northwest. The water temperature never gets above 55 degrees! But, these hardy surfers wear body suits that help to combat the cold Pacific Ocean Waters. Needless to say, I’ve never seen any silver-haired surfers. They are pretty much all young males. There are probably a few females among them but I have never seen any.

I wondered if they were courageous or just stupid. But, most anytime you see decent surf, there will be surfers. Sometimes they surf close to the jetties and that seems a bit frightening to me as they could easily be smashed into them. Now, surfers are a ‘normal’ site along the coast.

As I mentioned, most wear body suits but occasionally you will see one in just swimsuits. Ah, youth! For me it is akin to the Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day at Sunset Bay, but that is another story. Brrrrrrrrrr

In that tradition, this coming weekend holds a special surfing event at Agate Beach in Newport, Oregon. The Agate Beach Surf Classic runs from September 7 through September 9. Newport Parks and Rec, along with a few businesses and volunteers, sponsor this annual event at Agate Beach.

Volunteers are needed so if you’d like to volunteer, contact them through their website. Each volunteer will receive a T-shirt.

The online preregistration deadline is Wednesday, Sept 5, at a cost of $40.00 with cost of registration the day before events of $50.00. All proceeds go toward the Youth Scholarship Fund at Parks & Rec and benefit disadvantaged youth in Lincoln County so they can participate in a variety of programs. Packet Pickup is from 5 pm – 7 pm on Friday at Ossies Surf Shop.

Events on Saturday run from 8 am – 4 pm at Agate Beach and on Sunday from 8 am – 4 pm including the contest finals and awards ceremony all at Agate Beach.

There are a variety of events for all ages so be sure to check the website for that information: Space is limited, so get your bid in asap.

Umpqua River Haven is about 88 miles from Newport along the beautiful Oregon Coast. Stay with us and return home to your cozy RV at night. Or at least stop in and say hello on your way

The music on this video is California but the surf is pure Oregon Coast in winter!


Once a year, the State of Oregon offers free fishing for everyone where fishing, crabbing and clamming are permitted! 

No license, tag or endorsement is needed because the fishin’ is free! Catch limits and other restrictions do apply.

Hosted by the Oregon Department of Fishing and Wildlife (ODFW), Saturday September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd are both days where you can fish, crab and clam for free! This opportunity is for anywhere in Oregon fishing, crabbing and clamming are allowed—rivers, streams, lakes and ocean.

This is a great time to find a new, great fishing spot. Bring the family along as mom might enjoy it just as much as dad, and, it’s a great time to introduce children to fishing. While the boys love to fish with dad, don’t forget that the girls do also! Some of our happiest times were fishin’ with dad!

Don’t miss this weekend for great fishing and bringing home some Dungeness crabs and Oregon clams! Yummy feasting! Visit the Wells Creek Area on highway 38 on your way to the coast for some award-winning clam chowder at the Inn. Be sure to stop in and say hello to us at or stay the weekend in your RV. We would love to see you if we aren’t out fishing! Photo is from one of our family crabbin for Dungeness trips at the coast!


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 Blackberries August 26 – 27 at the 2018 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.

Don’t miss the South Coast Folk Society’s booth near So It Goes coffee house on 2nd and Central.

Witness the spectacle of
Saturday 1:45 by the stage and 2:15 by the booth

Live music by:
Saturday 3-4 and Sunday 11-1

and FINVARRA and the NOR’WESTERS  Sunday 1-3

Don’t miss this very Oregon weekend event!

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

The Black River

Formed by the confluence of the West and East Branches of the Black River at Elyria, Ohio, the Canesadooharie River, once known as the Riviere en Gyrs, flows gently past Sheffield, Ohio and into Lorain, Ohio. The two named rivers were probably actually different rivers nearby.

It gets confusing because in the 1700s this river was known as both the Reneshoua River and la Riviere de la Cuiliere by early French and British explorers as the safest harboring spot along the ‘cliffs.’ These cliffs extended many miles along the Southern Lake Erie shoreline from here almost to the mouth of the Cuyahoga (the Crooked River). There were no beaches along the cliffs for landing even small boats and the cliffs were too steep and high to climb.

There is more convoluted history about this river involving falls, Native Americans, Col. James Smith who was captured by Native Americans, additional names and references to ‘black pearls.’ But most of it is conjecture and not confirmed as fact.

How the Black River got its name is unknown by historians although there is a hint that shale lined its banks and that was possibly the origin of this name.

Whatever that name origin, the river was home to Native American and eventually settlers. The 1800s started the development along this river into a major industrial area. The United States Steel Corporation lived here, and, the steamboat “Lexington” was constructed by the Black River Steamboats Association. Shipbuilding eventually evolved into the American Ship Building company producing the Great Lake vessels from 1818 to 1981. Additional industry was produced along this river including cement and the Ford Motor Company among others. Below is an abandoned industrial building.

As with the Cuyahoga, the Black River became polluted by industry. The industries died a slow death with steel surviving to this day as an industry and employer. But, the river has been revived with ecological renovations along its banks. Newer, better-retaining walls have been built with shelving for fish. This has produced the spawning of many varieties of native fish including the famous Lake Erie Yellow Perch, Walleye, varieties of Bass and others. Below is more abandoned industrial equipment.

The 4 miles of industrial banks of the river have been cleaned up in that the sludge has been moved back, away from the banks so the natural soil is exposed and producing native foliage and trees. This has brought in nesting eagles and Blue Heron. The double-breasted Canadian Cormorants have invaded here and are profuse in the upper river toward the end of the 4 miles. Their nests can be seen in the trees that become stripped, although not killed, by their very acidic droppings. And, large webbings of caterpillars cling to the tree branches.  Below you can see the sludge in the background and the reclaimed river bank in the foreground. Can you see the Blue Heron?

And here are the Cormorants.

 And Caterpillars!

This industrial-related boat is sunk to the bottom and has been abandoned for some time.

The Lorain Port Authority sponsors a variety of tours on the Black River. One of them is a Nature Tour that travels out to the Historic Lorain Lighthouse and then slowly back up the river with narration about the aforementioned details. Captain Ron has been piloting on the Great Lakes for 34 years, and on the Black River for several. He is very knowledgeable about the historical industrial sites, many of which left large structures behind. At the same time, Captain Ron can explain all of the ecological renovations and improvements along the 4 miles of riverbank. And, he knows all about the returning fish and waterfowl. It is a fascinating 2 and 1/2 hour tour about the come back of a very polluted Black River. Contact the Lorain Port Authority for details.

Thanks, Captain Ron!

While steel is still very much an industry in Lorain, it no longer pollutes the Black River as this abandoned complex can attest to.


Sandcastles at Lincoln City, Oregon

This weekend is the annual Sandcastle Contest at Lincoln City, Oregon.  This is a family, amateur event open to all ages. It is held in the Historic Taft District of Lincoln City off SW 51st Street. It is free to register but they are asking for a donation to the food pantry.

On Saturday, August 11, registration starts at 9:00 am. Judging will be at 2:00 pm. Only amateur entrants will be eligible for prizes. Only natural beach materials found on the beach during this day can be used. Forms and hand tools may be used in the making but forms ultimately cannot serve to support the finished entry. No power tools are permitted.

In the evening, S’mores will be toasted on the beach over a fire. Sunday will bring fun games and events. Come join in the fun of building a Sandcastle or just to watch.

Below is our blog post from the 2017 Sandcastle Competition at Cannon Beach just to give you an idea of the beautiful sand sculptures even amateurs can make.

Oregon has some of the most beautiful and vast beaches in the world. The shoreline in this Pacific Northwest State belongs to the people and every inch of it has public access. It is something Oregon has done exactly right.

To help celebrate Oregon’s beaches, there is an annual Sandcastle Contest held at Cannon Beach. The festival started in 1964 when a tsunami washed out the Elk Creek Bridge and the residents were somewhat isolated before a new bridge could be installed. So….that spring the local families got together for a Sandcastle Contest to entertain their children and to encourage visitors to the area. The Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest became one of the largest on the west coast and continues today.

Creativity is given free rein as there are no themes. Contestants can only use the sand in their area and not add to. Only natural materials found on the beach—sticks, shells, seaweed, etc—can be used. Nothing artificial and no paint of any kind. Competition is limited to 100. As this is a family event, no risqué entries are permitted and no alcohol is allowed. You can check out details at Umpqua River Haven is about 100 miles from Cannon Beach. Stop in and see us on your way or stay a spell before heading North along Oregon’s beautiful shore.

The Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest starts on Friday, June 16, with registration for competitors closing at noon. The festival runs all weekend. Oh, yes, and when the tide comes in all of this beautiful work washes into the beach again. Below are several entries from the 2013 contest.

This Weekend On The Oregon Coast

Newport, Oregon is one of our favorite places to visit on the Oregon Coast.  There is much to see and do there on an ordinary day. But this weekend, in particular, there are a great many special things going on. Below is a listing of all the weekend happenings in Newport.

We love the Embarcadero Resort Hotel for accommodations. It is smack on the bay where there is so much to see. Coast Guard Research ships, sea lions on the rocks, and Saturday sailboat races. Plus this fella who wanted to be our buddy all weekend long.

That’s the Yaquina Bay Bridge in the background. There is a lot to see from this second story room with a kitchen! It is just as beautiful at night with so many lights around the bay.

If you just wander around town, don’t miss the huge, 2-story antique mall where great bargains abound. Newport is home to many beaches, the most famous of which is in the antique district of town, Nye Beach. The gulls hang out there and enjoy anything you want to feed them. Watch for more about the beaches here following the list of weekend activities. There is something for everyone here this weekend.

Friday, Aug. 3

“From the Heart”   Newport Visual Arts Center

An opening reception for this new exhibit of works by Rick Bartow, featuring 17 seldom-seen sketches of prominent authors in watercolor, pencil and pastel. 5-8 pm, 777 NW Beach Drive. Show runs run through Saturday, Sept. 29, available to view from noon to 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday.

“Sylvia” Theatre West • Lincoln City

The arrival of a new dog puts a marriage in jeopardy in this stage comedy, with the husband seeing the pooch as an escape while his wife views her as a rival for affection. 7:30 pm, 3536 SW Hwy. 101. Tickets, $15 for adults and $13 for seniors and students, available by calling 541-994-5663.

Shop at the Dock  Port Dock 5 • Newport

Get a grounding in how to buy seafood right off the boat in this free workshop from the OSU Sea Grant Extension Service. Tours leave at 9:30 am, 10 am, 10:30 am and 11 am. FMI, call 541-574-6534.

Coastal Arts Guild lunch  Newport Visual Arts Center

Fabric artist Janet Webster talks about her work, which has evolved from weaving to quilting to fabric manipulation. 11 am to 1:30 pm, 777 NW Beach Drive. FMI or an invitation to attend, call Mary Holt at 541-765-4599.

Seabird Science Hike  Oswald West State Park • Manzanita

An easy two-mile round-trip journey focusing on the recent community effort to monitor nesting seabirds within Oregon’s Marine Reserves. 10 am to noon. FMI, call 541-231-8041.

“Young Marx”  Newport Performing Arts Center

See what was going on in Karl Marx’ life before the days of “Das Kapital” in this new comedy from Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, screened as part of The National Theatre: Live in HD. 7 pm, 777 W. Olive Street. Tickets, $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and $11 for students, available at or by calling 541-265-ARTS (2787).

Quilts by the Sea  Newport Recreation Center

Browse some 300 quilts at this annual show from the Oregon Coastal Quilters Guild, including the 2018 raffle quilt, “Ocean in Motion.” $6. 9 am-5 pm, 225 SE Avery Street. Continues Saturday.

Community Luau  Oceanview Senior Living • Newport

Enjoy a free, island-themed feast and multicultural traditional drumming from Chandler Davis at this outdoor get-together. Noon-2 pm, 525 NE 71st Street. FMI or directions, call 541-574-0550.

On the south side of the bay, we discovered access to a vast expanse of beach where you can hike for miles. And we did. And came across this fella skimming along the shore.

Don’t miss out on the tide pooling at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. It is unique. And stop in and say hello to us at on your way north to Newport. We are just 87 miles on a beautiful drive up the coast from Newport.


Happy 125th Birthday!

Florence, Oregon is a unique small town on the Oregon Coast. It has all the beach amenities with vast expanses of beach. The Dunes live here and have very active riders, hikers and sand sleders. The Bella can be seen when the winter storms reveal her. The Snowy Plover play, nest and are protected on her beaches. Whales pass by the campsites and sea lions play in the waters here. 

But it is the town itself that is celebrating 125 years of being with a ‘block party’ to beat all block parties. Known as ‘The City of Rhododendrons,’ Florence is a major destination for retirees while still retaining a multi-generational population. Florence has a very mild climate and seldom sees snow. It is lined on one side by forests of Douglas Fir, the main timbered tree in Oregon. Everything grows and Florence is renowned for its wild, flowering ‘Rhody’ vegetation. 

While there is a lot of history surrounding Florence, its more modern aspects are what are truly unique. Florence abounds with cultural activities including art, poetry, theater, many varieties of both much and dance. Seacoast Entertainment Association brings quality, professional entertainment to the Florence Events Center 9 times during the year. Florence has a resident community orchestra that performs a few times a year. 

There is more but let’s get to the birthday block party celebration. From 5:30 to 9:00 pm on Friday, July 27, Bay Street in Historic Old Town will be closed for this evening event. One of the main activities will be a Historic Treasure Hunt that will have participants visiting businesses and sites up and down Bay Street. There is a prize at the end of the hunt. Additionally, the city will sponsor giving away one scoop of BJ’s Ice Cream. When asked if there was an age limit for the ice cream give-away the city manager said, “125.” 

There will be a variety of activities for all the generations including rock painting, games and the BeauxBooth photo booth. Based in Portland, Oregon, Pressure Point Band will provide live entertainment. Their music is eclectic in nature to appeal to all ages. First responders will have booths and the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum will also be present. 

The Oregon Mayor’s Conference will be convening in Florence this same weekend. With 70 mayors from all over Oregon anticipated to attend, participation in the birthday celebration will be up considerably. Everyone loves to visit Florence Old Town and the mayors will be no exception. 

Come to the coast this Friday to wish Florence a Very Happy 125th Birthday. Don’t forget to stop in to say hello to us at  We are just 36 miles from Florence and it’s a beautiful drive all the way. 

Photo credit goes to Ken McDougal ( Thanks, Ken! The Siuslaw River Bridge


Oregon Coast Music Festival

The Oregon Coast Music Festival is celebrating 40 years of gathering musicians from all over the US and Canada. Musicians converge on Coos Bay to participate in this week of classical and pops orchestra playing.  Starting on Tuesday, July 24, and running through Saturday, July 28, the ocean air will ring with great music.

James Paul is in his 27th year as Conductor and Music Director of the Festival Orchestra. Associate Pops Conductor, Adam Stern is participating also. Maestro Stern will be hosted at the Coos Bay Public Library on July 23, 25 and 26 at noon for a Lunch, Listen and Learn event each day.

There is something for everyone with two classical concerts and one pops concert during the week. Stop in to see us at on your way to Coos Bay for this great week of music. The concert programs and dates are posted below.

Concert I – July 24, 2018
“Once Upon a Time”
Wagner: Three excerpts from “Die Meistersinger,” Act III:
Introduction to Act III, Dance of the Apprentices, Entrance of the Meistersingers
Grieg: Lyric Suite, Op. 54
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Pops Concert – July 26, 2018
“There’ll Always be an England”
Lionel Bart: Medley from “Oliver”
Medley, “Best of The Beatles”
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on “Greensleeves”
Lerner and Loewe: Medley from “Camelot”
Cole Porter: Medley from “Kiss Me Kate”
Peter Townsend/The Who Medley from “Quadrophenia”
Richard Addinsell: Warsaw Concerto
William Walton: Crown Imperial

Concert II – July 28, 2018
“Concert Favorites”
Ponchielli: Dance of the Hours from “La Gioconda”
Strauss, R.: Don Juan, Op 20
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in e minor




Festival of Sail – Sandusky, Ohio

On the Oregon Coast, we love our Tall Ships when they visit. The Lady Washington and the Hawaiian. But, we don’t have an exclusive on Tall Ships. They exist and visit in a variety of places. Starting this Thursday, there will be 6 different Tall Ships visiting on Lake Erie for the Festival of Sail Sandusky.

Sandusky is celebrating it’s bicentennial during 2018 and this is one event happening as part of that celebration. For four days, the 6 very different vessels will be in port here helping to celebrate this 200 year anniversary. Visitors will be able to purchase tickets to walk, tour and explore the ships.

There are photos of 5 of the ships starting with the U.S. Brig Niagara. During the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, this ship and 8 others defeated 6 British vessels during the War of 1812. They took back Detroit and lifted spirits throughout the country. The present-day Niagara is the third replica of the original, launched into the lake in 1988, which was the 175th celebration of this battle. She measures 198 feet in length and 118 feet tall and is a two-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel.

The Schooner Madeline is also a replica of a typical mid-20th-century trading schooner that sailed the Great Lakes. Her maximum length is 92 feet. It took five years to build this ship as only traditional materials and methods were used. She launched in 1990.

From Bay City, Michigan comes the Appledore IV which was launched in 1989 and has a maximum length of 85 feet. Hard to tell but I’d swear that’s the Jolly Roger she’s flying!

Next is the Lettie G. Howard, a two-masted gaff topsail fishing schooner, 125 feet in length and built in 1893 in Essex, Massachusetts. This vessel was restored during 1992-93 and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard as a Sailing School Vessel in 1994.

In 2000, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 400 volunteers and professional shipwrights finished the S/V Denis Sullivan. She carries 21 overnight passengers and 50 on day sails.

The ships arrive on Thursday for the Parade of Sail. There will be food available and entertainment dockside. There will be festival merchandise, various vendors and a beer garden. An added attraction will be the World’s Largest Rubber Duck at anchor in the harbor. It is quite an, um, feather in Sandusky’s hat to have the duck in port.

She has been named “Mama Duck,” weighs 22,000 pounds and stands 6-stories tall. She is part of the bicentennial celebration in Sandusky.

If you are near the Shores of Lake Erie this coming weekend, be sure to visit Sandusky for this unique celebration and gathering of Tall Ships.

The 4th of July

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Their story. . .

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;
another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,
and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants.

Nine were farmers and large plantation owners;
men of means, well educated.

But they signed the Declaration of Independence
knowing full well that the penalty would be death if
they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and
trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to
pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British
that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.
He served in the Congress without pay, and his family
was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him,
and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton , Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that
the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General
George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.
The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill
were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests
and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his
children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and
silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.

Author, Anonymous

Remember: freedom is never free!