Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DAY 35- Dune Buggies to Eureka!

I woke up to what I thought was an amazing sight.  The sun is rising but it looks like a huge orange globe rising out of foggy clouds.  I threw on a jacket and ran out with my camera and got a picture.  I was the only one that seemed rather excited at the sight.  Is this a common thing to happen here and I just don’t know it?  They just watched me as I excitedly took pictures in my p.j.’s.  (Of course, I’m not sticking out like a sore thumb here. J)
Photo- I was the only one impressed with this scene
but I thought it was wonderful.

I drove north to the Spinreel rental place which was about 14 mile drive.  About ½ mile before the turn off for Spinreel, the traffic came to a complete stop and I waited about 15 min. because of construction.  Thank goodness I had left about 25 min early but I was still getting nervous that I would miss my dune buggy ride.  But there was a whole lot of nervous finger tapping going on in my car.
Photo- Of dunes, where trees get buried in sand and eventually die.
It's a constant battle between the pine trees and dunes.

I made it with a few minutes to spare, whew!  Right at 10AM on the dot the wonderful people at Spinreel opened their doors; just after bringing out all of the various vehicles that they rent out.  I tell you there’s a lot to choose from! I filled out a waiver form, paid, and introduced myself to my fellow riders; an older couple from Canada, Sharon and Rafael (Raf, for short).  I was rather glad to have an older couple figuring the dune buggy wouldn’t be such a roller coaster ride because I’m not so good on those.
Photo- In the Dune Buggy, myself, Raf, and Sharon.

We got introduced to George who would be our driver for the ½ hour tour that I signed up for.  A great deal for only $25!  He took us out to the dune buggy and we got in.  I sat up front because Sharon and Raf wanted to sit together.  Yep, I was driving shotgun in the mini-roller coaster ride.  I was a bit nervous but then as we started to drive over and George explained about the environment surrounding the dunes and he seemed so experienced that I became more at ease.
Photo- Of the dunes- just amazing!

The dunes are amazing!  Even with some of the pine trees, which were planted back in the 1930’s because of some movie star that tought trying to claim and stablize the sandy area was good. It’s hard to describe but it was a very different landscape than what I expected.  I guess it’s even more amazing as you get to closer to the beach area; which I will warn you that if you want to go to the beach you’ll need to rent for at least 2 hours.  The dunes area is that wide and they go along the Oregon coastline from Florence to just north of Coos Bay.  In fact, you will see a great deal of trailers with ATV’s on them in the area.  What was even more amazing was that there was a river running along it and the Hwy 101 is on the other side of the river.  It was all kind of surreal and amazing landscape.  I know you are tired of me using the word amazing but I just can’t think of another word to use.
Photo- George with no hands on the wheel!

George started off slow and then started to increase the speed and go into more hilly sections of the dunes.  He kind of freaked me out when he started down a steep incline, probably a 14% incline and just stopped.  He put his hands up and took his feet off of the gas pedal.  We just sat there still. WOW!  He said you would be amazed with how much control you really do have out here in the sand dunes on these vehicles.  You need something to get you going to move in this sand.  We stopped a couple of times and I had to laugh because we were basically out in the middle of nowhere and there was this Century 21 realtor sign.  I guess it was for land just on the edge of the dunes.  George got near the edge and you could look over to see an area that looked like the only access would be the dunes because the other side was marshland.
Photo- Raf and Sharon, who made me look whimpy.

It turned out I was the whimpy one in the group; Sharon had been on a Disneyland roller coaster this last summer and Raf didn’t seem fazed.  Up and down and a bit crazier it went.  Probably not nearly as crazy as George could have been but it was for me.  I was holding on the the OMDG handle which was a “T” bar in the place of like a steering wheel.  George had told me at the beginning to hold on to that if I needed to and he called it –“Oh My Dear God” handle.  I told him I was used to the “Oh Shit” handles and he teased me that this was a step up from that.  George later told me that I wasn’t as bad as some that he has had women burying finger nails into his arm, but I think he was just being nice.  I was rather sad to have it end so soon, but I tell you what I would do it again with the Spinreel rentals.  They were just wonderful!
Photo- One of several wonderful ocean views from near the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

Next, I headed back through Coos Bay and headed south on Hwy 101.  I swung by the light house at Bandon which I saw 8 years ago while I was on the coast.  I took some pictures of the ocean and a few quick ones of the light houses.  Next, I took a bit of a break at the Cape Blanco State Park where there was another lighthouse. (Kory- it was closed again! Just like the last time we visited.)  This lighthouse has some strange hours for its grounds but I walked around a plateau nearby where I saw some wonderful ocean views and even saw some people riding horses on the beach.

There were sections of construction along the Hwy 101 and there were a couple of times where the wait was about 15 min, but I did mind because you could watch the ocean.  I would roll down the windows and just listen to the ocean and enjoy it.  I looked at the construction employees and wondered how they managed to get anything done with those kinds of views but I would guess you’d get used to it.
Photo- A circle of Redwood Trees.

Next thing I knew I was in California.  The roads got curve and steeper.  The speed limits changed from 65 to 40 in a blink of an eye and sports cars were zooming around me like I was standing still.  Ye Gads!  Then I was at Crescent City.  I stopped at the Redwood Parks information booth.  I decided I would continue south towards Eureka, CA.  There was a section of “old growth” that the parks employee had told me had a paved road that went through.  It was the Pioneer Redwood area and was just south of Klamath, CA and there was an exit it ran parallel to Hwy101 and then joined back up with it.
Photo- Me- doing that I caught a fish this Big in front of the BIG Redwood Tree.

Wow!  Yes, another wow coming from me.  The Redwood forest is really something to see.  I stopped and took a hike into to see the Big Redwood.  I asked a German couple to take my picture.  It was funny because I ran into this German couple later on another hike and then later on in the evening at a brew pub in Eureka; small world!

On my way to Eureka there were a whole lot of cars stopping on the side of the road.  Well, it was a herd of elk that was just off of the Hwy on either side.  I stopped and took a couple of pictures but it was getting to be about 5pm and I still needed to find a hotel for the night.  I drove on and when I got to Eureka, I stopped at one of the first hotels I could find; a Clarion that looked nice.

And as I said earlier, I ran into that German couple at a brew pub.  The brew pub was the Lost Cove Brewing Company in Old Historic Section of Eureka and their wheat beer was wonderful.  I also enjoyed a brown derby sandwich; a pile high roast beef sandwich with melted cheddar on a toasted hard sourdough roll. Yum!

No comments:

Post a Comment