Sunday, May 24, 2015

Road Trip! Florence, Oregon and Heceta Beach

We set out early to leave Coos Bay and head up the Oregon Coast.  The 49 mile drive took us right along the ocean on the map, but we couldn't see it for the lovely forests and sand dunes.

We had called the night before and booked a spot at the Heceta Beach RV Park.  The entire rest of our trip was so precisely mapped out that we were a bit anxious about this last minute change in plans.  But it did put us that much closer to our next show, so what the heck.

Our Sierra & Lance 1575 in our spot at Heceta Beach
We were greeted by two ladies, who we would refer to for the rest of our stay as the "laughing ladies," at the front desk of an on-site mini-mart.  They quickly took care of the paperwork, checked us in and gave us directions to our spot.  We were simply thrilled with it...  not only was there plenty of space for our GMC and Lance, but we felt totally alone because of the bushes/trees/shrubs separating each space from the next.  It was just gorgeous!

We really loved Florence, and were sorry we didn't have more time to spend in this charming town.  As it was, we shopped in the enormous and beautiful Safeway, restocking our produce supply, visited a couple of antique stores, a very neat yarn shop, and two bead stores.

Tide out at Heceta Beach
But what we really wanted to do was to put our feet in the sand - something neither of us had done in 35 years.  It was a cool, breezy day, but that didn't stop us.  Just 3 blocks from our campsite was this wide expanse of pristine coastline.  We happily walked the beach for quite a while, deciding to stop only because it was so cool and damp.

Here is our rating for this RV Park:

Heceta Beach RV Park, 4636 Heceta Beach Rd., 
Florence, OR
(541) 997-7664
Ease of access from major highway: Easy
Front Desk personnel:  Friendly, efficient and happy
Cost per night:  Excellent ($38)
Park Amenities: Excellent
Cleanliness:  Excellent
Availability of supplies/meals/etc: Excellent from the well-supplied Mini-Mart on the premises
Overall rating:  Excellent
Would we stay here again: Absolutely yes!

Next stop: Waldport, OR


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Road Trip! Coos Bay, Oregon

This 138-mile leg of our journey took us through more beautiful Oregon forests as it wound its way to the coast.  We planned on spending two days in Coos Bay.  We had heard that it was an historic town, with a thriving and vibrant downtown in an artsy community.  It sounded like just our style!  We chose the Lucky Logger RV Park, because of their claims of beautiful views of the bay.

We were so disappointed all the way around.  Lucky Logger's view of the bay was severely obstructed by construction debris, mounds of dirt, and passing trains (even in the middle of the night).  We arrived at just before 3 PM and found a sign on the office door, "back in 15 minutes."  A few minutes later, an older gentleman opened the door and gruffly said, "You need something? I was just about to close up."  We took a spot anyway for one night, figuring we could find something better tomorrow.

The RV Park also boasted a nice, short walk along the bay to historic downtown, but the gates were locked.  So we drove the half-a-mile and parked to start exploring.  What we found were punk-looking lurkers, junk shops and empty storefronts.  So sad.  

That evening, we decided to move on, and made the next stop in Florence, OR.  We called for a reservation and settled in for the night.

Here is our rating for this RV Park:

Lucky Logger RV Park, 250 E. Johnson Avenue, 
Coos Bay, OR
(541) 267-6003
Ease of access from major highway: Average
Front Desk personnel:  Abrupt
Cost per night:  Expensive for a parking place ($37.90)
Park Amenities: Below Average
Cleanliness:  Average
Availability of supplies/meals/etc: Above average
Overall rating:  Below average
Would we stay here again: No
 
Next: Florence, OR and Heceta Beach

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Road Trip! Grants Pass, Oregon

After all the driving and a two-day show, we planned to sit somewhere for three days and fish.  So we chose the Rogue River and Grants Pass, Oregon.  The 30-mile drive was wonderful on an uncongested Interstate 5.

Our navigation took us off the Interstate a bit early, but that was okay.  The street route was typical Oregon - trees and green and water - and just lovely. We found River Park RV Resort without incident and got checked in to a space right on the Rogue River.

It was an absolutely beautiful location, teeming with all kinds of birds and waterfowl.  This robin just sat there until I took its picture - in fact several pictures!  The park was also ablaze with an array of tulips.  The lawn behind our trailer was more than big enough to set up our rain-soaked canopy and let it dry. The neighboring campers were far enough away not to care.  It was heaven.

That afternoon, we set out to buy fishing licenses.  The very friendly park host directed us to a shop not far away.  We asked the clerk a myriad of fishing questions - what bait, what location, special restrictions -  and got evasive non-responses.  He finally admitted that he had never fished!

On that warm, sunny afternoon, sitting in our comfy camp chairs on the shore of the beautiful river, watching rafters drift by and our lines in the water, we both had several bites and finally landed a huge steelhead.  The regulations said that to keep it, it must be at least 26" long.  We guess this one was, since doubled over in our net, it still didn't fit.  The regs also said that the farm raised ones would have a clipped adipose fin and this one wasn't clipped.  We quickly decided to let it go, as it was a native fish and were happy when my hook came out with ease and the fish swam away.

My better half and fishing buddy trying to find one in the rapids
The next day was cool and drizzly at times, but that didn't stop us.  Yes, we are fish fanatics.  We walked the shore of the river for probably a bit more than half a mile, thoroughly relaxed, enjoying the weather, the scenery and each other.  The only thing we managed to catch was one karp.

Our stay a River Park RV Resort was simply wonderful.  We both wished that we could spend the rest of the week there, but we needed to get closer to our next show location.  Here is our rating of this RV park: 

River Park RV Resort, 2956 Rogue River HIghway, 
Grants Pass, OR
(541) 479-0046
Ease of access from major highway: Easy
Front Desk personnel:  Exceptional (he even helped us back into our spot!)
Cost per night:  Great value ($35/night)
Park Amenities: Exceptional
Cleanliness:  Exceptional
Availability of supplies/meals/etc: Above average for a somewhat remote area
Overall rating:  Exceptional
Would we stay here again: Absolutely yes!

Entertaining the notion of "we could live here," we did a search on Realtor.com. Our criteria: at least 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, single family home within a 20 mile radius of Grants Pass, Oregon.  The results: 1 serious fixer listed for $164,000!  Guess we will just be visitors!
 
Next - on to Coos Bay, Oregon!


 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Road Trip! Winnemucca, NV to Medford, OR

The second leg of our trip (385 miles) took us from Winnemucca, Nevada to Medford, Oregon.  The weather cleared and it was a really beautiful day.

The entire drive was on a single road - NV 140/OR 140.  We wandered through the rolling hills and deserts of northern Nevada, every so often passing through a charming small town.
Once into Oregon, the scenery soon changed to endless, lush old-growth forests; a mix of fir, pine and redwood.  It just couldn't have been a lovelier drive.

We chose to stay in Phoenix, Oregon on the outskirts of Medford.  The RV Park we chose was just over four miles from our show, and was on a creek.  What we didn't know when we booked this site was that it is hard to find a place that isn't on a creek, stream, river, pond or lake in this part of Oregon...  There is water everywhere!

Because of significant road construction, it wasn't easy to find Holiday RV Park, but we were pleased when we finally did and drove down a tree-lined road to the main office.  The lady at the front desk was efficient, giving us a park map, codes to the restrooms, etc., and offering us our choice of three different spaces.

Our Lance 1575 with our GMC Sierra squeezed in behind
The spaces were virtually identical.  They were all very small.  Once we set our 15.75 foot trailer into the spot, there wasn't enough room to park our GMC Sierra completely out of the roadway.  Campers on either side were set apart from us by perhaps eight feet of grass.  Still, we were happy to be done driving for a while and it was a pretty setting.  Caution! If you use the laundromat at this RV park, the dryer on the right as you face has a cool setting that is actually broil!  Here is our rating for this park:

HOLIDAY RV PARK, 201 Fern Valley Rd., Phoenix, OR
(541) 535-2183
Ease of access from major highway: Difficult due to road construction
Front Desk personnel:  Efficient
Cost per night:  Expensive for what you get ($40.25)
Park Amenities: Average
Cleanliness:  Average
Availability of supplies/meals/etc: Poor for a populated area - everything was a drive away
Overall rating:  Below Average
Would we stay here again: No 
 
Next - The Pear Blossom Street Fair, Medford, Oregon

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Road Trip! Pear Blossom Street Festival - Medford, Oregon

Touted as one of the largest shows in Oregon, the Pear Blossom Street Festival boasts annual attendance between 25,000 and 40,000 visitors.  170+ booths are in place to satisfy absolutely every interest - from political parties to area arts groups (ballet, theater, etc.), a myriad of buy-and-resell booths (makeup, lose weight, healthy hair and food), a number of truly art booths and a variety of food vendors.  This show truly had a bit of everything!

It is held in a converted two block stretch in downtown Medford.  It was a pretty setting, with trees and lawn areas.  The pre-show information was just amazing.  It told us which space we were in, and gave us very specific load-in/out times/locations, as well as where to park our tow vehicle.  We were so excited to participate in what appeared to be a premier and incredibly well-organized event.

Our load-in time was at 6:30 AM on Friday morning; we were there at 6:20.  The uniformed young people (probably high school ROTC members/volunteers) didn't really know what was going on.  Our load-in spot was completely blocked by parked food trailers and the street was impassable.  We were asked to wait across the street for a bit to see if they could get it cleared.  When that didn't happen, we unloaded a block away from our assigned space.  When we asked for directions to our to our assigned parking lot (two blocks away), we were met with blank stares.

We met the lady who was the primary contact for the show one time during our wait to unload, long enough to introduce ourselves.  This show requires commercial liability insurance with a certificate showing the Medford Metro Downtown Association (MMDA) as additional insured.  The pre-show information stated that no one would be allowed to unload until this document was handed to show reps.  Although we had it, we were never asked to present it.

During the two-day show, we saw a young woman in an orange vest who claimed to be show personnel only one time.  She never gave us her name.  She asked if we had any questions and if everything was okay.  We asked her about the load-out time on Saturday being 3:30, when the show went until 5.  Again, we were met with a blank stare.  She explained that she didn't know - this was her first year, but she would find out and let us know.  We never saw her again.

The overall layout of the show was everywhere!  It seemed to us that there were too many vendors for the area and space.  There were even vendors down side streets.  Booths were wedged in nooks so that their frontage was up against the back of other booths.  The layout did nothing to enhance traffic flow so that show visitors would see every booth.

If you wanted to eat, this was a fabulous show.  Nearly a third of all of the booths were food.  But there was almost everything else there to, and we would say that this was the most diverse show we have every been to.  But there was absolutely no direction or theme to it.  Great mix - yes.  Coherent mix - absolutely not.  But this is a street festival, so anything goes.

From the get go, this show was a disappointment.  There were no knowledgeable show organizers to answer simple questions, such as where is my power connection, which way does my booth face, what are the hours, etc.  Electric cords were strung everywhere, creating a liability nightmare of tripping hazards on rain-soaked sidewalks and streets.  Patrons to the show were asking us for directions!

Here is our rating, on a scale of 1 (atrocious) to 10 (spectacular):

Load In/Load Out  3
Avalability of show organizers during show 1
Overall layout and traffic pattern 2
Mix of show 8
Show matched pre-show materials 1
Parking for exhibitors 2
Overall rating  3

Weather Expectations: If you decide to do this show, be prepared for damp rainy weather.  The crowd for this show is used to rain and it did not affect attendance as far as we could tell.

Who should do this show? If you are a take charge individual who can bend with the breeze and make your own decisions, this might be just the show for you.  If this is going to be your first show, find a different show!

Would we recommend this show to other exhibitors? No

Will we do this show again?  No

Next:  Grants Pass!