Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Lazy Week in Sutherlin, Oregon

Where in the World are Keith and Kathy?
The beautiful, lush green surroundings, the periodic drizzle, and recovery from a bout of stomach virus all conspired to make our week in Sutherlin a lazy one. The turkeys continued to greet us every morning it was not raining. Having spent the winter in the southwest, with no rain for three months, it is taking us a while to adjust to the wetter northwest climate, and to the lush green trees.

Sutherlin, Oregon SKP Park

Our Home in Timber Valley Park

Most of our week was spent relaxing and exploring the gastronomic possibilities of the area. We spent some time completing an article about delamination, which we have submitted to the Escapees magazine, and we made a day trip to the Pacific Coast to visit Seal Cave.

The dining opportunities in Sutherlin are limited; however we did find an excellent small Korean/Japanese/American restaurant run by a nice lady from South Korea. Kathy had beef Bugoki and noodles; Keith ordered pork and vegetables in hot sauce. Kathy’s entre was about 3 COWS; Keith’s was 3-1/2. Keith also ordered Kimchi on the side. The Korean lady was careful to point out that she personally made the Kimchi, and showed Keith a gallon jar of the stuff. Keith didn’t say so, but he thought it a bit bland. Between both entres we had enough left over for lunch the next day. The food was actually even better the next day, having marinated in the fridge overnight.

Most of our dining and shopping was in Roseburg, about 12 miles down the pike. We had a very mediocre Chinese buffet, a good (but not excellent) piece of steak at a Rodeo Steak House Café, and an outstanding piece of chocolate cake at Fred Meyers, all on different days, of course.

On Thursday we drove about 50 miles west, through the Umpqua River valley, to the Pacific coast, where we toured a sea cave near the town of Florence. The cave is owned by a local family who have operated it as a tourist attraction for many years. The entrance is on a bluff, and the cave is reached by a 250ft. descent by elevator. The elevator opens into a small alcove which overlooks the main cave, which is open to the ocean. Resting in the cave were about 100 sea lions. Pictures in the cave were poor, as flash was not permitted. More of these creatures could be seen on the rocks and in the water along the boardwalk path to the elevator entrance.

The drive through the river valley is very scenic. The vegetation is lush green and the river is running bank full with the spring rains. Numerous small boats were seen in the river. Along the way we saw examples of clear cutting. We are not sure about the ecological soundness of this timber harvesting technique, but it certainly is ugly. We also stopped to take photos at an Elk refuge located in a bucolic river meadow.

Clear Cutting in the Umpqua River Valley

Contented Cows in the Umpqua Valley

Elk Refuge

The Umpqua River Boating Scene

The Oregon Coast

Goldenrods on the Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast Sea Lions

Sea Lion Cave

Sea Lions in Sea Lion Cave

Friday night we watched an interesting show on PBS, about a horrific dynamite explosion in Roseburg 50 years ago. We wish we had seen it earlier, so we could recognize the landmarks when we were in Roseburg. Hopefully we will be back.

Saturday morning we raised anchor and motored a couple of hundred miles north to Castle Rock, Washington, where the road turns off I-5 for Mt. St. Helens. Along the way we rode through the beautiful Willamette River Valley. This lush and fertile ground was the magnet which drew thousands of intrepid pioneers to undertake the hardships of the Oregon Trail in the late 1840’s and 1850’s. There are two excellent trail museums in the state; one in Oregon City, a southern suburb of Portland, and the other on the eastern side of the state, outside of Baker City. Keith was informed by a friend, who is a professional seed merchant, that the grass seed is a major product of the Willamette valley.

The Lush Willamette River Valley

Portland, Oregon

The following paragraph is another rant. If you don’t like rants, skip it.

Outside of Portland we stopped at Camping World to replenish our supply of holding tank chemical. This very important product suppresses odors from the holding tanks; if one chooses the right brand, that is. We have experimented with several brands, and find Enviro-Chem to be head and shoulders above the competition. We typically buy a gallon once or twice a year. Last fall, Keith allowed a salesman in Massachusetts to sell him a gallon of a supposedly superior product. We gagged all the way south, until we bought a quart of the right stuff at the Camping World in Alabama; they were out of gallons. Turns out they were not just out of stock; it seems CW no longer carries this product. We bought the last quart on the shelves in Portland. Judging from what was on the shelves, CW appears to have entered into an exclusive marketing agreement with Thetford which is, in our opinion, an inferior, but apparently more profitable product.

We currently are parked in Seaquest State Park, in the forest primeval about 5 miles off the Interstate. This is a very pretty park, with cozy campsites nestled among a dense forest of tall pine tree. We are pleased to have cell and internet service here among the trees, but the satellite TV does not work. It rained most of the afternoon we arrived, but cleared before dark. The trees are beautiful with the sunlight filtering through the tall trunks.

Tomorrow we attempt to visit Mt. St. Helens. We will first visit the State operated visitors center, which is just off the interstate, then attempt to drive east to view the mountain. We do not know how far we will get. The Forest Service web site says the road is still closed by snow beyond MP 46. We don’t know how much we will be able to see at that point.

Stay tuned…

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