Monday, September 24, 2012

DAY 34- Covered Bridges & Live Musical FUN

I stayed last night in a Quality Inn and I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and well-maintained it was. I also loved that they had a refrigerator in the room with a microwave. I booked the room on website and got a pretty good deal but I always try to read the reviews of the hotel before I book. I don't want to end up with another Econolodge type of incident. So as I was reading some of these reviews I was questioning what I had actually reserved for the night. It all really seems to be a crap shoot; roll the dice and see what you get or at least it seems with hotels.  I’m thinking I may have to check out more of the Bed & Breakfasts; those seem to be better and more consistent.
Photo- The wonderful scenery on way to the first covered bridge.
Well, I enjoyed a waffle for breakfast and I was off.  I wanted to get a couple more covered bridges and possibly a couple of wineries before I started driving to the coastline.  I started out driving east out of Roseburg to hit my first covered bridge.  I followed the directions in a brochure that I got at the visitor’s center.  I drove a wonderful scenic 16 miles and then took a right turn and drove along a Little River (it’s actual name and it fit) for another seven miles.  There was the covered bridge.  I drove slowly across it and then flipped a Utah “U”turn.  I took a few pictures and while standing there a dog from a nearby house was barking at me.  I didn’t stay long because I didn’t want to wake up the whole neighborhood.  But I did read in the brochure that they made this bridge a little taller and designed the peaked opening to accommodate logging trucks in the area.
Photo- The first covered bridge- Cravitt Creek.

The next covered bridge was further north and near a couple of wineries that I wanted to visit.  So I jumped on Interstate 5 and got off after a couple of exits.  I was in the small town of Sutherlin.  I headed east about 1.5 miles and took a right.  Here was the second covered bridge.  I stopped quickly and took a picture but there weren’t any historical markers on this one like there was the last one.  I, instead, referred to the brochure.  This bridge featured a Howe truss span.  Okay, I’m unsure what that means and may have to Google it someday.  But it was a nice well maintained white covered bridge with side windows with curved tops.
Photo- The second covered bridge.

Next, I did a bit of back tracking and headed towards the wineries.  I was a bit disappointed the one that I really wanted to see was closed on Sundays.  It was the Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyard and I guess that there was a marvelous wine cave area.  But I guess with a name like that I should’ve figured that it would be closed on Sundays.

Photos- Live music and FUN at the Henry Estates Winery.

But I pushed on to another winery that the lady at the visitor’s center had recommended; the Henry Estates Winery.  I drove past the signs for two other wineries figure if I had time I would swing back.  I drove out to the Henry Estates and there was a live Bluegrass Country group playing music.  I did a bit of wine tasting and decided to buy a glass of wine.  I went out to the shady area where there were picnic tables and enjoyed the music.  It was a beautiful day; why not I figured.  There were also a couple of tents and boxes of fresh vegetables you could help yourself to.  I guess it was supposed to be a loose version of a Farmer’s Market.

Photo- Booths out at the Henry Estates Winery.
 It wasn’t long before most of the tables were filling up and someone part of group introduced themselves and asked if they could sit with me.  Sure, I said. I got to talking with a retired woman that lived just east in a small town nearby.  They were out for a weekly thing and then she asked me where I was from.  I had to laugh because the first thing she said to me when I told where I’m from was—Well; you sure are off the beaten track.  I thought to myself, lady you hit the nail on the head on that one.  She said that it was mainly locals that knew about this event.  I said that was wonderful because then I could get a feel for what the locals were like.  They were a fun bunch and I very slowly drank my glass of wine and enjoyed.

Needless to say, I didn’t get to try any other wineries but that was okay.  Next, I decided since I was already kind of north I would just catch a highway nearby Hwy 138 and head towards the coast.  I back tracked again and went to a gas station just off of the Interstate 5.  Then, off to the west I went.  The road curved around and I was kind of heading in a northwestern direction.  It ended up going along Umpqua River which the further west I went the larger the river got.  There were more and more creeks and waterways pouring into it.  It was just beautiful.

Photo- The scenic Umpqua River that Hwy 138 runs along. 

Then, I got to Reedsport and turned south on Hwy 101 and got my first glimpse on the ocean at an overlook.  I went by a lighthouse that I had visited years ago on a vacation but it was getting to be late afternoon and I had hoped to set up a dune buggy ride in the sand dunes just north of Coos Bay.  So I pressed on.  I saw the sign about 15 miles before Coos Bay for the Sand Dune Rental Company and turned off to set it up for tomorrow.

Then off to the Red Lion hotel where I would spend to the night.  After checking in, I went to dinner at a local Italian restaurant that my cousin Kimmie had suggested.  It was a wonderful fun meal.  In all the time I’ve been in the restaurant business, I’ve never seen a service team work so well together.  They were all communicating and working together; from the hostess to the waitress to the busboy.  They all worked as a team and not one of them was below performing anything that the customer needed and it was all done with a smile; plus a wonderful attitude too.  I would highly recommend Benintos!

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