Yaquina Head and Devils Punchbowl

Super storm in the Bering Sea causing big surf all the way to central Oregon.

Extra big surf causing really spectacular views along the coast - usually these kind of waves are associated with winter storms, but today is sunny and warm - really bonus weather for this last in the fall.

Historic lighthouse, closed, and wrapped up, for repairs.

Devils Punchbowl, at low tide.

The Riparian Zone

A rainy night and morning

After the rain stopped (mostly), we walked a trail next to Spencer creek which borders the campground and winds back into the forest.  This riparian zone was dark, misty, drippy, and damp; in other words, perfect habitat for ferns, moss, mushrooms, and newts.

Another cool octopus tree

Spencer Creek
Moss and ferns will grow on YOU if you stop too long!

We saw dozens of these little guys!

Necklace of mushrooms

Love these little guys - like coral, I forget what they're called - maybe 'fairy fingers'?

I like that you can see the veil under the cap.

Shafts of sun make it through the canopy of trees to light up the ferns

Beverly Beach State Park

So close to so much!

Between Newport and Lincoln City, this state park is close to Yaquina Head Historic lighthouse, Devil's Punchbowl, the jetties around Yaquina bay (big fishing marina and processing plants in Newport), sea lions lounging around on the docks, an outstanding ocean museum, and the Rogue Brewery.  

The beach is a great place to look for agates.  Mostly what we saw were huge piles of kelp - the surf has been particularly rough and the kelp was really tangled up like braided rope.

The campground is huge, but shady - full of big spruce.  A lot of 'Octopus trees'  - big spruce that grew out of fallen trees or stumps and when the stumps rot away, you can see the roots of the new trees.  The trees look like they're standing on tip toe.

An owl hanging around like a scrub Jay!

Walking around the campground, we were surprised to see an own up in a tree.  While we watched, it flew down into a yurt site - I've never seen such a bold owl.

Sea lions are a rambunctious, noisy lot!

These guys hang out on some old docks next to  Pacific Seafood processing plant on the old Newport waterfront.

Night of the Zombie Pumpkin!

Zombie Pumpkin!

Easy to outrun, but just as scary.

This 'rolling dead' got a trick-or-treater, but luckily I got to the gory gourd with a kitchen knife before it could wreck more havok.

No Halloween is complete without roasted pumpkin seeds.

Or toddlers in costume

Twin grand-nephews - aren't they grand!

Getting Ready for Halloween

First come the decorations

Clap on - my nieces and nephews love the cackling witch

Then, the Jack o'Lantern

Currently, a blank slate.  All creative  pumpkin potential!

A few pumpkins from the past

The pumpkin that started it all.  Almost every year for the last 25 years, I've carved a pumpkin.

The witch pumpkin

Que the banjo dueling music;  I particularly loved these hillbilly punkins!
There have also been Phantom of the Opera punkins, devils, cats, and one of my friends carved one out to use as a planter box.  

Haven't decided yet what this years theme will be - but I have been watching a lot of the 'Walking Dead' series.

Enjoying the last days of our Indian Summer

If it's not raining, get outside!

Everyone in the PNW understands this directive - especially the closer we get to the gray and rainy months.  So today I drank my morning coffee outside in the sun.  I sketched another Starbucks customer who was journaling.

This was a bit of a "stealth" sketch as I was using my little 3x4" sketchbook

Scoot thru "Forest for the Trees"

Forest for the Trees

In it's second year, this project showcases 20 contemporary artists painting outdoor murals around town.  Portland has a history of impressive murals and I've enjoyed finding them in unexpected places around town.   Check out this project: http://www.forestforthetreesnw.com

We had a map, full tanks on our scooters . . . 

Mine is the smaller one on the left!

Now, all we needed was some breakfast.

Conveniently located near my house on Alberta St. and between our first couple of murals, Petite Provence offers a really delectable selection of pastries, breakfasts, and, most importantly, great coffees.

Then, it was off to find our murals.

Oops, this one is from last year - but isn't it great!

My favorite for 2014 - "You are confined only by the walls you build"

I had to go behind a gate to get this bunny

This one is near my new favorite Thai restaurant - Thai Seasons on NE Sandy.

This one is outside City
Liquidators - I furnished my first apartment from this Portland landmark store!

Had the opportunity to chat with Walt at City Liquidators while I was photographing their mural.  What fun!  Murals decrease 'tagging' and increase community conversation.

This mural has a bas relief detail!

Finally, time for lunch

Usually, Pambiche has a line around the block - but today we lucked out.  The best Cuban food in town!  http://www.pambiche.com

Not my photo - I was so excited to try the food I forgot to take a photo. 

3 Capes Scenic Byway

Well, only two this trip, but they were the two prettiest!

Cape Meares lighthouse, the 'Octopus' tree (a massive sitka spruce that sent out multiple horizontal trunks from its base and then rises over 100 feet), and Cape Lookout.  The scenic byway is a beautiful drive through the woods between the capes and passes through the small beach side communities of Netarts and Oceanside.

This Oregon coast drive was magically beautiful this week - Could also be the company I'm keeping these days ;-)

Looking North from cape lookout

Looking south from cape meares

Every good trip deserves a memorable sunset

Nehalem Bay

After travels: repairs and mods

Hatchback struts fail

After 9 years, the hydraulic struts on the hatchback lift gate failed.  I never realized how heavy the hatchback is!  Luckily, in the pile of wood that a family was selling after their camping trip was a perfect stick for temporarily holding up the lift gate.

I ordered replacement struts on Amazon, watched a You-Tube on how to replace them, and, once home, replaced the struts in about 5 minutes!  I was very proud of myself.

Addition to my solar setup.

My solar setup works great in sunny places where I can charge both 12 volt batteries from the panel on my car.  But all the campsites I had in August were very shady - so much that I had to move the car during the day to sunny place so that at least one 12v battery (the AGM in the back of the car) would get charged.  I hope that the trailer battery would charge up overnight from the AGM battery.  But, while I had plenty of power in the trailer, the house battery kept discharging to dangerously low levels.  

So, my next plan is to augment my solar set up with a 50w panel wired directly to the trailer battery for those shady days.  Hopefully, I'll get enough charge(even in the shade) to keep the house battery safe while still having the fully charged AGM to meet my power needs.

Playing the tourist in Portland

Historic Columbia River Scenic Byway
I had forgotten what a beautiful drive this is!  Begun in the early 1900's, this old highway winds it's way along the south side of the Columbia River through the forest passing by numerous waterfalls and along the cliffs with great views of the river.  Lunch under the Bridge of the Gods, or continue on to Hood River to continue the drive around Mt Hood and visiting wineries and fruit stands along the 'fruit loop'.

Bridal Veil Falls

View from Crown Point

And, no trip to the Gorge is complete without a visit to Bonneville Dam and the massive fish hatchery. Visiting the giant sturgeon (the biggest over 70 years old and something like 450 pounds!) is a step backward in time - sturgeon have been around for about 400 million years.

Chapman Elementary School - Vaux Swifts
Along their annual migration, many thousands of Vaux Swifts take a break in Portland during September.  They bed down in the schools chimney every night by the thousands!  And thousands of Portlanders gather every night to watch them roost.  Bring a picnic, watch the kids sled down the hill on cardboard, wait for the thousands of swifts to gather and swarm around, then funnel down into the school's chimney.  Quite a sight.