Monthly Archives: July 2014

Campground review: South Jetty Thousand Trails, Florence, OR

PHOTO_20140721_133717.jpg We’ve been at South Jetty Thousand Trails here at Florence, OR the past couple of weeks and our impression of the campground is mostly positive. There are plenty of campsites for bigger rigs, mostly water/electric. The campground has a nice pool plus a couple of hot tubs and a pickleball and basketball court.

PHOTO_20140718_100135.jpgOne area is all 50 amp electric, but there’s a $5 surcharge for using those sites. I had the feeling that, with no need for air conditioning that there are actually too many 50 amp sites, or maybe said better, charging extra for the sites is rather unreasonable. People don’t need 50 amps, don’t want to pay the extra money so they crowd into the other areas leaving the more expensive sites empty. At no time during our two weeks here were the sites in the surcharge section anything close to full and often those in use were being used by people with older 30 amp only rigs who were simply trying to find a suitable place to park.

PHOTO_20140718_102805.jpg Getting full hookups is a bit of a challenge. One primary full hookup loop has recently been logged out, leaving the area looking stripped with lots of stumps. As I understand it the plan is to let the undergrowth fill in, cover the stumps, and create separation between the sites. For now, I think it looks a bit like a war zone, but I have the idea that things will look a lot better in a year or two. Apparently, the rest of the campground is going to get the same treatment – at least that’s what I heard. One thing about it: a lot more people can get satellite after the “war.”

PHOTO_20140727_163548.jpg The lack of full hookups is alleviated a bit by the placement of many gray water disposal sites scattered throughout the campground. A lot of people use five gallon containers to carry waste water to the sites, thus extending their holding tank capacity. Also, there’s a honey wagon service available for a price.

A big draw here is the proximity of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Access is a couple of minutes from the campground. People bring their dune buggies and spend their time out on the dunes and on the beach on the other side of the dunes. One thing that surprised us was the lack of easy beach access. The ocean is probably 3 miles away but to get to it one has to drive to the dunes recreation area, pay to park, and then hike up over the dunes to the beach -or- drive 5 miles to the end of the road, park in a rough parking area at no charge, and then hike over the dunes or walk along the river on the jetty to the beach. Either way it’s a bit of a commitment.

We aren’t complaining too loudly because a drive north on 101 of 15 miles or so takes one along some of the most dramatic shoreline to be found anywhere. I think that drive alone makes it worth coming here. Also, I’ve really enjoyed the cool coastal weather. Temps have seldom gotten warmer than 70 and nighttime temps have been in the 50’s. Once we move a bit farther south and inland we’re going to experience a much more summer-like climate.

PHOTO_20140726_103705.jpg All in all, we like this place and will likely return – if nothing else to repeat the drive north along the ocean and to see how the campground tree thinning project works out.

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Florence, OR and vicinity

P7209608.JPG We started touring the Florence, OR area on Highway 101 20 miles or so north of town. The scenery is simply wonderful. The visitor center at the Cape Pepetua Scenic Area boasts a terrific windowed overlook of the ocean – it’s a popular spot for year around whale watching. We loved the great view of the ocean as awesome waves crashed into and over the rocks. The visitor center has a variety of exhibits. There’s a historical exhibit depicting a young Native American in costume of very early early inhabitants, a timeline of civilization of area, hands on nature activities for kids, documentary films, and a gift shop.

P7209627.JPG The nearby Heceta light house is very nice. The day we visited was clear and sunny. As we walked up the 1/2 mile trail we could see colony of common mears (a sea bird). We even saw whale spouts and then got a glimpse of the whale itself as it surfaced. At Strawberry point we saw a lot of sea lions lying on the rocks.

I enjoyed Old Town Florence with its variety of shops and restaurants. After visiting several shops we walked down onto the marina where we had good view of the historic bridge over Siuslaw river. While walking and enjoying the river we watched a harbor seal that seemed to be watching us. Across from the marina there was a small vegetable stand with good variety of vegetables.

Another day we decided to drive out to South Jetty. It was very windy when we were there and some hardy souls were kite boarding. Some of the waves coming up the river crashed against the jetty and sprayed us. I can understand why they have warnings posted about dangerous waves sweeping people away!

To the south of Florence, the Umpqua lighthouse is still operational and located inside the Coast Guard property. Although we didn’t go in tours are available through the Museum nearby. Across from the light house is a viewing platform from which whales are often spotted during the migration seasons.

P7259641.JPG On our way back to Florence we stopped at Oregon Dunes National Park Overlook. It has a nice overlook with trails going down into the dunes as well as picnic tables overlooking the dunes.

P7289654.JPG On the recommendation of a friend we decided to go see Sweet Creek Falls. We drove to the trail head and then hiked about 45 minutes to the main falls. The creek has several small falls and rapids that we looked at along the way. The trail is a well marked, fairly easy trail. We saw families playing in some of the pools as we walked up the creek. At the main falls we ate lunch while sitting on rocks and enjoying the view. The trail was busy with families, couples and singles enjoying this locally known park.

We’ve enjoyed the cool weather and beautiful scenery here on the central coast of Oregon.

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South Tillamook County Library Pacific City, Oregon

Pacific City, Oregon Public Library

6200 Camp Street, Pacific City, Oregon  97135

This lovely welcoming library is part of the Tillamook County Library System. The free wifi 24 hours a day is a great asset to this community with all the tourism that comes to the beach. There is also a variety of materials for all ages and a comfortable area where parents can interact with their children. Around the Library are comfortable chairs for reading  and tables to spread out if needed.  One sculpture in the Children’s area that caught my eye is “Philbert” the Oregon Beaver. It was handcrafted by Jim Stober in 1988. Beside the library is a community garden with all produce going to local food banks.  This is  a welcoming place for a get away from the crowds on the beach.

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Pacific City, OR and Surrounding Area

IMG_2658.JPG We’ve enjoyed a very pleasant stay here. From our campsite we can take a short walk and sit on a swing under a gazebo and have a beautiful view of the waves rolling onto the beach.

One highlight of our visit was the self guided tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory. As we walked along the second level we read the history of the factory and learned about the making of cheese. Just below us on the other side of a large glass wall we could see the workers processing and boxing cheese on the floor below. At the end of the tour we tried several of the free cheese tasting samples. We especially liked the cheese curds and bought some to take home. Then we purchased some of their excellent ice cream to eat right there in the cafe.

IMG_2599.JPG On Sunday after attending worship we drove out to Cape Meares Lighthouse. We took the short but interesting Ranger led guided tour of the lighthouse and was able to go up to the light itself and see how the glass was cut to reflect the 60 watt light that was amplified to be seen 20 miles out to sea. Unfortunately, it was quite foggy so we couldn’t see very far out to sea but we enjoyed seeing the waves on the rocks near the shore and watched the fog move around the rocks further out. We also took the short hike to see the Octopus Tree. The trunk is huge and there are several branches going up but no main center branch, very interesting!

PHOTO_20140708_152245.jpg We visited Cape Kiwanda with it’s wonderful beach at Pacific City several times and enjoyed each each visit. When arriving at the beach you can either park in the lot or drive down on the beach. The haystack rock, “Chief Kiawanda Rock,” is impressive and can be seen for miles. Part of the beach attraction is the huge sand dune that was always full of people climbing up and running or sliding back down. An unusual thing about this beach is that dory boats are allowed to launch and return here. While we were watching one dory came running toward the beach and when it started getting shallow they lifted the motor and slid up on the beach. Another was going out, they backed down to the waterline and two crewmen pushed the boat out in the waves until the motor could be lowered and they could head out.

falls.jpg Munson Creek Falls outside of Tillamook was a pleasant surprise for us and our good friends of many years, Ron and Theresa Corwin. Following the sign we turned down Munson Creek Road that turned into gravel and became very narrow. The road ended in a parking area. From there we hiked back a 1/4 mile trail to the 319 foot falls. It is beautiful, tranquil and well worth the drive and the walk.

All the Oregon coast is beautiful and this area is no exception.

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Campground Review: Pacific City, OR Thousand Trails

PHOTO_20140710_101221.jpgWe enjoyed Pacific City, OR Thousand Trails. The campground is near, but not on the ocean. From various places in the campground there are nice views of the water down below. A few campsites actually offer ocean views. The number of sites with actual views is rather limited so no one should come expecting to have such a spot. If you happen to get one of those prime spots you’ll enjoy it. Otherwise, don’t worry too much about it as there are a couple of good ocean watching spots that are available to everyone.

PHOTO_20140710_102316.jpgThis is a large campground built on some rather steep hills. Even if a person takes one of the campsites near the entry they will have to contend with either a challenging hike or a drive up some steep hills to get to the Activity Center, pool, mini-golf, etc. When we first arrived I drove all the way “to the top” looking at possible campsites. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy pulling the big 5th wheel up and down the steep hills on the paved, but too-narrow-for-comfort roads. For us and most other campers driving in and out from our campsite took several minutes. It seemed strange to us to be camped near the highway but have to ease our way at 5mph over numerous speed bumps just to get out of the campground. Then, just on the other side of the fence from where we had just driven we would drive down the highway at normal speeds.

PHOTO_20140710_102907.jpgThere are two sections of the campground plus a few seemingly random sites that boast full hookups. One area is “at the top” and the other is in a section along the highway. We ended up in the second section. The road noise was minor and we enjoyed the full hookup/50 amp site. After walking up the hill to the Activity Center once we decided we’d had enough mountain climbing and drove the truck up to that area on future journeys.

There are a variety of campsites ranging from fairly large to smaller. Our spot was okay for us but a few feet deeper or wider would have been much better. Getting satellite in this hilly, treed terrain can be a challenge. After considerable effort I found one spot, right beside the road where my dish could see the satellites. Meanwhile, our Verizon cell and data service left a lot to be desired. Using the booster I could make and receive calls. Our internet, though, was poor to non-existent. That was rather frustrating because we could drive into Pacific City – about 3 minutes from the campground entrance and have 4G!

PHOTO_20140709_101449.jpg There’s a path down to the beach from the campground, but it is pretty steep. Hiking back to the campground left us out of breath. Again, Pacific City is close by and there one can park in a nice paved parking lot or even drive right out onto a beautiful beach. We did the campground trail to the beach a couple of times but after that we decided to save our legs for walking on the beach rather than hiking down and back to the beach.

We liked Pacific City Thousand Trails, hills and all, and hope to return.

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