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Thursday, February 17, 2011

DAY 35 - TUNNEL - FLORENCE, OREGON

SIUSLAW RIVER BRIDGE, FLORENCE, OREGON . This Bridge, built in 1936 appears to be solid Concrete...I walked it 4 times looking for crumbling...it is as built last year...great construction...not any flaking or degredation anywhere that I could see...
TWILIGHT LOOKING AT HECETA LIGHTHOUSE

CLOSER-UP VIEW


IT DID SNOW LAST NIGHT...THE ROAD IS ICE COVERED.



CLOUDS IN TWILIGHT OVER THE PACIFIC




A STORM CELL APPROACHING...REMINDS ME OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE ONE SCARY NIGHT





FLOWERING VEGETATION IN THE MIDDLE OF FEBRUARY


SAND DUNES...THEY WILL BE WITH US FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR SO

US 101 DROPPING DOWN OFF THE "CAPES" INTO THE FLAT SAND DUNE COUNTRY



FLOWERS UP CLOSE


THORN BUSHES...SEE FLOWER BUDS ABOUT TO BURST OPEN



STEEPER AND SHARPER THAN IT LOOKS...WORKING ON PROSPECTIVE


SEA LION CAVE HOUSE


RECENT STATUE AT THE SEA LION CAVES


MY BEST SHOT OF A REAL LIVE SEA LION...TAKES SPECIAL FILM AND A TRIPOD TO GET GOOD SHOTS


GROUP (POD?) OF SEA LIONS "FISHING" FOR ROCK FISH AND CRABS - SO SAYS "KEVIN", OUR CAVE "HOST"..AT ANY ONE TIME THERE ARE 11 EMPLOYEES AT THE SEA LION CAVES
A SKELETON "SET UP" ...ANOTHER IS ACTUALLY "IN-SITU", BUT TOO DARK TO PHOTOGRAPH (FLASH IS NOT ALLOWED)...YEARS AGO I DID TAKE A GOOD FLASH PIC OF THE SKELETON IN SITU


CLICK TO READ DETAILS


THE OLD STAIRWAY USED TO COME INTO THE CAVE AT THIS POINT...NOW CALLED THE NORTH CAVE.


TIMBERS LYING ON THE ROCKS BELOW...ARE THE REMAINS OF THE OLD STAIRWAY...WHICH I USED TWO TIMES PRIOR TO 1961 WHEN THE ELEVATOR WAS INSTALLED...I PREVIOUSLY USED THE ELEVATOR ONCE BEFORE TODAY.


SURF AT THE NORTH CAVE ENTRANCE


WATERFALL AT THE NORTH CAVE ENTRANCE


CLICK TO ENLARGE - APPLIES TO ALL PHOTOGRAPHS



PICTOGRAPH OF THE MODERN LAYOUT OF THE SEA LION CAVES...OLD NORTH ENTRANCE IS ON FAR RIGHT


THE OLD STAIRWAY...AT LOWER LEFT, A "VERTICAL" STAIRWAY DESCENDED 100 FEET INTO THE NORTH CAVE ENTRANCE...WAS VERY EXCITING TO ENTER THE CAVE IN THOSE DAYS - PRIOR TO 1961 WHEN THE ELEVATOR WAS INSTALLED


SAND DUNES IN FLORENCE, OREGON...OUR MAIN VISTA FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR SO


ANOTHER VIEW OF THE SAND DUNES...YES, I CLIMBED UP ONTO THEM...NICE CLOUDS



DOWNTOWN FLORENCE, OREGON


OLD TOWN FLORENCE, OREGON



OLD TOWN FLORENCE, OREGON...MET MAT AND TERRY DOWN THERE...NICE SUNNY AFTERNOON...SAT AT A SIDEWALK TABLE...I KNOW, SHOULD HAVE BEEN WALKING


ROADWAY OF THE SIUSLAW RIVER BRIDGE...THIS IS A LIFT BRIDGE


ANOTHER VIEW


LOOKING EAST UP THE SIUSLAW RIVER FROM THE BRIDGE


DAY 35 – TUNNEL – FLORENCE, OREGON

After a rocking and rolling night in the Oregon State Campground, drove SPIA South on US 101 at 6:30 am, stopping at a wide spot about ½ mile South of the Tunnel. Parked. Walked back to the Tunnel and BACK to SPIA…but kept walking up the hill.

½ mile from SPIA was the World Famous Sea Lion Caves…at 7:00 am, it was closed…opens at 9:00 am. So, continued walking South on US 101…up some prodigious hills and hairpin turns…then down a long steep hill into an extensive flat lad without a single hill…the Ocean Front also flattened out…for unending miles one could see sand dunes without end…the beginning of the Oregon Sand Dunes.

We will be walking these Sand Dunes for the next 3 or 4 days…remember years ago taking a Sand Buggy ride …might just do it again.

At the bottom of that mountain, turned around and climbed back up to SPIA, parked ½ mile BEYOND the Sea Lion Caves…they opened in 15 minutes…so, drove SPIA to the RV Parking and waited for the doors to open.

Finally, the doors opened and I was invited inside…chatted with Dan for a bit and he surprised me by asking me to be their GUEST for the day...NO CHARGE at all. Of course, I happily accepted. Walked to the elevator…punched “DOWN” and 200 feet later, stepped into a dimly lit cave with carpeted floor and professional lighted highlights of information, skeletons, and solid glass windows with wire reinforcing.

The first two times I visited this place, there was no elevator. A wooden walkway winded back and forth down the cliff face, ending in a vertical stairway straight down 100 feet or so o the Ocean and entered a cave sloping downward for 200 feet more to an open cavern with a roof some 100 feet high and huge waves crashing inside…quite a different entrance from today’s high-tech carpeted promenade.

My first visits we were one with the Sea Lions…no barriers…today, thick wire reinforced windows separate the main cave from visitors…no Flash Cameras are allowed and it is quite impossible to obtain a half decent photograph…

The scene is very impressive to the eye…but recording it requires very special cameras and high speed film…NONE OF MY PICS TURNED OUT, even tho I set my Panasonic for 400 speed film…perhaps I should have set it up to 1600…too late now.

The Sea Lion Cave folks were superb…knowledgeable and helpful to answer questions and simply chat about the history of the caves…which started in the 1920s. The wooden stairs I used were destroyed in 1961 and replaced by the elevator…now makes the entire scene wheel-chair accessible…just too bad photos are so limited.

There were about 200 Sea Lions in the cave…all female. The Males are either in Southern California (California Sea Lions), or in the Aleutian Islands. Mating begins in May and continues through August (lucky guys & gals, huh?) with 9 month gestation. After mating, the guys take off and the gals generally hang around to next “season”.

Then drove SPIA South on US 101 into the “flat lands” of the Sand Dunes. Parked and walked back to the mountain and return to SPIA. Then drove into FLORENCE, OREGON, where Les Schwab kindly checked out SPIA’s tires and new Air Shocks…finding all in perfect condition. Left SPIA parked at Les Schwab and walked again North on US 101 for 1 hour and back South into town and back to SPIA.

Did a bit of shopping at the nearby FRED MEYER…then drove to the South end of Florence, over the SIUSLAW River Bridge and parked. Walked back across the bridge into town…then into the “Old Historic District”, where I bought a gift for Carol Graf and met two of the nicest gentlemen one could find.

Mat has a high tech ($10,000.00 plus) Recumbent Bike he has ridden over 15,000 miles. Mat and his friend Terry and I shared some drinks on a sidewalk cafĂ© table and chatted for over an hour about traveling…biking…running…walking…web sites…blogs…etc etc etc. A most enjoyable time for me…might look into recumbent bikes.

Then walked back to SPIA, still parked on the South side of the Siuslaw Bridge, where I believe I can spend the night.

SPIA is furnishing electricity to complete yesterdays and this update…still have over 125 pics to sort through and upload before calling it a day…

DAILY REPORT: Walked 22 miles for the day…count 11 miles

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 11 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.22 for the day.

Tomorrow, will walk South on Us 101 for 5 miles or so; return to SPIA. Then move to a new parking spot and do it all over again…

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