#225––Another Portland and Maine’s Mid-Coast Region, Part 2 . . .

 

We loved our stay in the Maine Beaches Region on the south coast of Maine. Except for the first day when it rained, the weather was lovely. On this section of the trip, the weather was sunny on some days and others were overcast but no rain.

Day 5, Friday, Oct 5

We got up early and packed and enjoyed our last of the great comp breakfasts at The Milestone. We were off to South Berwick to go through the Sarah Orne Jewett museum. We got their early and parked right out in front and sat in the car and read. Nothing was open when we first arrived. Besides, it was cold.

Next door to the original Jewett home, this is the visitor center within another Jewett home on the same property.

The wait was worth it. There were a few other visitors, and the guide took us on a very thorough trip through the house where Jewett was born and had lived most of her life. Nearly everything in the house was original. We saw the desk that she wrote at. Her shelves with the items she treasured as a child and as an adult. It was really a step back in history. The Jewett family was well off, and Sarah traveled in circles that included the rich and famous, including the most famous writers of the time, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. Sarah lived between 1849 and 1909.

She was known for writing great dialogue in correct dialect. Edna loves her as a writer. I found it slow going to work my way through the correctly spelled dialect to try to figure out what they were actually saying. Edna gave me her copy of The Country of Pointed Firs in May, and I was still working my way through it on this trip in October. I finally finished it on the trip. (It’s not a big book.)

We had lunch in the same café we had eaten in on our first day in Maine. Then we headed back to Hwy 1 and up the coast to South Portland. We traveled the same route as the day before when we were searching for the lighthouse. In fact, the motel was only about half a mile farther up the highway from where we turned to the lighthouse.

When we got to the motel, they had us booked in a room with a king-size bed. Not what we had reserved. So no way! Edna sometimes awakens and reads during the night, and I have restless legs and need to be able to kick to my heart’s content. Of course, there were no rooms available with two beds of any size. So we asked for a cot. They said that it might not fit because the king rooms were small. We told them we would make it fit.

Edna sits on the king-size bed in our room of nearly wall-to-wall bed. We made it work.

And we did, but there wasn’t an inch to spare. It was the largest cot I had ever seen–the size of a twin bed. We had to rearrange much of the furniture and ended up with a solid bed look to the room. But we were happy. Not so with the dinner next door at the Maine Table–only bad meal on the trip.

Day 6, Saturday, Oct 6

The breakfast room had a good selection but had the feel of a large, crowded restaurant with everyone constantly moving to and from the buffet tables. South Portland has a city feel, and folks seemed busy, busy—not a vacation feel. We missed the cozy, friendliness of The Milestone, where everyone was from somewhere else.

We headed north on Hwy 1 which turned into 1A and there so many signs, it was confusing. We made it into Portland and into a parking lot, where it was $8 for two hours. We found another spot before the two hours were up and moved the car. It was on the street and had a frustrating meter. We got so discombobulated that we didn’t grab the ticket and put on our car’s dash. But the fellow behind us, waiting to use the meter, tracked us down and handed us our ticket. So we walked back to the car and placed it on the dash. You’d think we’d never been in a city before. And Portland, ME, is a whole lot smaller than Portland, OR.

Lots of brick in Portland’s Old Port District and lots of charming shops.

We had hoped to go on a city tour on a fire truck, but like with many things, it didn’t run after Labor Day. But we did get to browse Portland’s Old Port District. It is very touristy with many shops. We did some shopping, and I got such big-ticket items as refrigerator magnets, post cards, Christmas ornaments (the only thing I collect), and some great kitchen towels.

We then returned to the car and drove in circles trying to get from the Port District to the Portland Art Museum–lots of one-way streets. We finally found it. Then we had to find parking. It was definitely worthwhile with a number of Winslow Homer’s and Edward Hopper’s and other paintings with familiar names, all displayed beautifully. We even had lunch there. I had lobster bisque. Quite good. Then back to South Portland and our motel. I napped and Edna read. For dinner, we headed south on Hwy 1 to more familiar territory. Didn’t want to get lost in the big city or eat where we had been the night before. Down the road we found Romeo’s Pizza. It was very good. We even saved a couple of pieces for the next day.

Day 7, Sunday, Oct 7

We navigated breakfast once again in the crowded breakfast room and then packed up and were on the road by 9:30 a.m. Not sad to leave the BW Merry Manor. We took the turnpike to Brunswick and split off on Hwy 1. We stopped at a rest stop/Info Center and stocked up on info on every place left on our itinerary. Had long chat with fellow who worked there. Love talking to locals.

Easy trip to Booth Bay Harbor. This is the Mid-Coast Region where the peninsulas are long with long inlets and many offshore islands. You never quite see the ocean on this part of the coast without going through a great deal of effort. You do see lakes and inlets and we continued to see beautiful fall color. Booth Bay Harbor was a delightful town in a hilly setting at the end of a peninsula. Our motel, Beach Cove Inn, was out of town and overlooked a lovely lake. The room was spacious with two beds. We even had a balcony. If we had needed to fit in a cot, we had room for half a dozen. We loved all the space, but could have used a couple of chairs and a bigger table. We brought in chairs from the balcony and crowded around a tiny table with a lamp when we were eating.

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens were lovely even though the flowering plants; bloom was over.

We drove into Booth Bay Harbor and browsed the town. Again bought a few things. It was a charming town, but crowded with end of season tourists. We had dinner at a tapas place, sharing a few small plates of food. Back at our motel, we discovered a TV series that we liked—Northwest Forest Law. The first few programs took place in New Hampshire and later ones in Maine. All were the real deal, involving off-road vehicle problems and poaching in the forests or on the sea. The officers bent over backwards to give people a second chance, but when they faced really bad guys, they wrote them up for the maximum or hauled them off to jail.

Day 8, Monday, Oct 8

We woke up to our lovely lake view, but the day was cold and overcast. The comp breakfast here was minimal and heavy on carbs (variations on bread, bagels, and pastries), which we had to take to our room. We found that the Maine State Aquarium was closed for the season, but the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens were open. (Both were on our itinerary.)

Love Robin’s bench at the garden. Look carefully for the robin upper left.

It was a bit of a drive, on small country roads, but we found the gardens. The flowering plants were past their peak, but the perennials and trees were just fine. It had several gardens with well laid out paths. But it was so cold, we were shivering. So we headed for a deli within the headquarters building. We had coffee to warm up and some pastries.

Lovely areas to explore throughout the gardens.

When we ventured out again, it didn’t seem so cold. We roamed around for a couple of hours, taking in many gardens. We took photos and had a great time. Then we found a lovely building with a restaurant and had lunch.

We left there and browsed more parts of Booth Bay Harbor and ended up a Kahlers. It was very crowded,and we had to wait. But it was worth it. I had a lobster roll in my quest to eat all things with lobster. I had seen signs for it everywhere, but wasn’t sure what it was. It consisted of large chunks of lobster in a light mayo dressing with grilled bread bent upward so nothing falls out. I loved it! Another chance to eat lobster! Back at our motel, we watched more Northwest Forest Law—still New Hampshire. We got so we recognized some of the officers. We found out the next morning that this was the last night for this motel to be open and same for Kahlers. We have loved our stay here at this motel and in Booth Bay Harbor area. Tomorrow we head to Rockland still in the mid-coast region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#224––Mainely a great trip, Part 1 . . .

 

Mainers love a good pun. Every town had a Mainely Pizza or Mainely Lobster or some other variation and often a Maine Street in the middle of town.

I felt right at home with Oregon type drizzle and showers throughout the first day and temps in the 50s most  of the trip. The displays of tree color throughout the 2 ½ weeks of our trip were fabulous—even in the rain! The best displays were along the turnpike with no places to pull over and take photos. So, unfortunately, we didn’t get many photos.

The trees were beautiful throughout the trip. This photo was taken in the rain.

The Oregon coast is noted for moderate temps all year, but not so the Maine coast. The summers can be hot and the winters cold and snowy. Because of the cold winters, in the coastal towns that depend on tourists, businesses,  such as lodgings, many restaurants, and tourist hot spots, close around mid-October to November 1, and don’t reopen until spring.

The coast of Oregon is bordered mostly by Hwy 101 with nearly all the coast public. The coast of Maine is mostly private with some public parks like Acadia National Park. But the fact that really blew me away was that while our coast is 363-miles in length, the coast of Maine is 3,500 miles in length. Using a ruler on a map, they are identical. South of Portland, it is basically straight with sandy beaches more like Oregon, but north of Portland, there are long inlets and big peninsulas and numerous offshore islands. These islands tend to break up the waves. We saw no big wave action and only rocky shorelines on this mid-section of Maine’s coast. And the rock was all granite—no basalt or sandstone, as on the Oregon coast.

To me this was the classic Maine coast with the sail boat.

My sister, Edna, and I planned our trip last May and booked flights and all lodgings at that time. The good was that we had reservations wherever we went. The bad, we discovered over and over, was that problems sometimes occur when there are third or even fourth parties involved.

The flights were fine. But we learned an important lesson—never, never fly Basic Economy. Economy now has two levels—Basic and Standard. The cheapest level, Basic, allows only one carry-on (purses count) and on full flights, you get the middle seat and don’t get to sit with your travel companion, plus the usual scrunched seat situation. We survived it, but never again.

We were asked over and over why the coast of Maine. Well, Edna has wanted to go there since she first read “The Country of Pointed Firs” by Sarah Orne Jewett many years ago and she always wanted to stay on an island. I wanted to eat lobster and see lighthouses as well as compare the coast of Maine to the coast of Oregon. We each got what we wanted.

Day 1, Monday, Oct 1

“Where are you?” asked Edna as I was turning into the Portland, OR, airport about 7:30 p.m. and thought I saw an off ramp for long-term parking. I was running late and she had been at United check-in for at least an hour, but couldn’t get any farther without me, since my name was on the tickets. I told her I was just arriving, and it wouldn’t be long.

But I was wrong! I pulled into short term parking accidentally and then had to back out with a big bus behind me that also had to back up. Then I pulled a U-turn and went out of there going the wrong way. I made my way back to the freeway, I-205, and tried again. Got all the way around and didn’t see any signs for long-term parking. So somehow got on Killingworth and heading into not-so-good Portland neighborhood. Pulled a U-tern and got back to freeway and to airport and this time saw a sign with a P within a circle, must mean parking, only it was four lanes over on the fast-lane side, which I could not get to. So I made my way all around again without getting lost, and this time took the off ramp into a parking garage that had a section for long-term parking. Whew! Just a little stressed by this point.

I got parked, noted my spot, safely tucked the ticket in my purse, grabbed my two tow-along suitcases, and took an elevator down to “tunnel to terminal.” I didn’t realize Portland had only one terminal until I asked someone with a uniform which terminal the tunnel was headed to. He gave me that look, and said that there was only one. Now I know. The tunnel went forever, but had a people conveyor belt, which really helped.

I got to the United check-in and didn’t see Edna, but a very friendly employee helped me through the auto check-in. Then I headed through security to the gate. I didn’t see Edna in either place. As soon as I got seated, my phone rang. “Where are you?” She was still at check in and super stressed by this point. She said that she did wander off every little while to stretch her legs, which must be how she missed me. Since I couldn’t go back through security, she attempted checking in again. This time, she made it. The same friendly employee helped her. He told her, “Your sister was just here a few minutes ago.” and checked her through.

So we finally caught up with each other—both a bit stressed. Since there wasn’t time to eat dinner, I pulled out two lunches from my backpack that I thought we might need in the middle of the night. (Good thing I always carry food.) As soon as we finished eating, the 9:45 p.m. flight started boarding. Since it was an overnight flight and not full, we were seated in a three-seat section with an empty seat. We still couldn’t get comfy enough to really sleep, but we dozed a bit. The pilot didn’t help. From time to time, he’d say something like, “Seatbelt sign is on, please return to your seats.” accompanied by loud static. It was the middle of the night; nobody was wandering around. Everyone was trying to sleep!

Day 2, Tuesday, Oct 2

Arrived in Newark, NJ, about 5 a.m. Layover was a couple of hours. We had a pathetic breakfast, sort of like an Egg McMuffin turned to cardboard. The latte I had was good and helped wake me. The short flight to Portland, ME, was easy. I loved the idea of flying from Portland to Portland. The Portland, ME, airport is considerably smaller than the Portland, OR, airport. Within a short time, we were at the car rental area and settling into a quite new Nissan Sentra. This car had push button start. Didn’t need the key, but it had to be within the car. It always seemed like magic when the car started up.

Both my sister and I are GPS challenged. So a few weeks before the trip, I went on Mapquest and ran off maps and directions from all of our destinations to the next one. And numbered them and stapled them to our Itinerary that we had created last May.

I was concerned that being awake most of the night, being in a place I had never been, and driving a car I had never driven before might not be such a good idea. But I was okay; the latte had awakened me. It was raining, but even so the trees were lovely and the turnpike was well marked and went through no towns and was free of all debris. Maybe paying a toll isn’t such a bad idea. It was only $1, and not all sections were covered by toll.

The Sarah Orne Jewett home and museum–not open until later in the week.

We followed map #1 and turned off at the off ramp to take us to South Berwick, so we could see the Sarah Orne Jewett home and museum. When we got there, it was closed and wouldn’t open until 11 a.m. Friday. That was the day we planned to leave the southern beaches and head to the Portland area. So we had to reschedule our second and fifth days within the first hours of being in Maine. We followed our directions to Ogonquit and found the Milestone Motel. It has lovely grounds and nice rooms. They allowed us to check in early, and we crashed for three hours. Then got up and studied the regional map for the area to find a restaurant. I was hoping to have lobster.

We had lobster all right, and it was the best meal of the entire trip. It was a lobster place out on a spit that we found in the pouring rain. We each had a whole lobster, corn on the cob, steamed clams, and blueberry pie––the quintessential Maine dinner. We were full and happy. Then we went back to our motel, watched an hour or so of TV, and turned in early. We slept and didn’t wake until almost 8 a.m. the next morning.

Day 3, Wednesday, Oct 3

The rain had stopped, and it was overcast. We explored Ogonquit and loved the stately old Colonial homes lining the roads in the area. We saw the Atlantic Ocean and stopped for awhile.

First view of Atlantic Ocean south of Ogonquit. Largest waves we saw.

Then found a sign to Nubble Lighthouse. The road wandered through a rather new section of homes, just a neighborhood street with no traffic. We were surprised when it came out at Nubble Lighthouse. We were also surprised to see lots of people there. It was undergoing renovation, so was surrounded by scaffolding. We still took photos.In the distance, we saw Boon Island Lighthouse on a tiny rocky ledge.

Nubble Lighthouse, on an island, was undergoing renovation.

There were good ocean views on this stretch of coast. We checked out the village of York and then on the way back to Ogonquit, stopped at the Ogonquit Museum of Art. It had interesting exhibits and a lovely setting on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. It had lovely grounds, which was also a sculpture garden. We talked to the gardener, who was very proud of the grounds.

The Ogonquit Museum of Art had lovely grounds with numerous sculptures.

We headed back to Ogonquit and browsed the town, and stopped at a bakery for tea and treat. I had Boston Cream Pie, which I hadn’t had in many years. It was huge, actually more than I could eat. We went back to the motel and napped. Then we went out to eat. The town center was so crowded, that the first restaurant with parking was where we ended up. It was Italian and wonderful. It was a much smaller dinner this second night. We shared some appetizer plates and each of us had caprese salad and a glass of wine. Again got to bed early. We enjoyed our day in the southern beaches region.

Day 4, Thursday, Oct 4

It was a good comp breakfast each day at the motel. On this mostly sunny day, we headed north of Ogonquit on Hwy 1, parts of which we had driven from South Berwick to Ogonquit. In trying to find the town of Port Elizaabeth and the Portland Head Lighthouse, it turned out to be an all-day adventure, even though we had a regional map. We kept heading north on Hwy 1, Maine’s coast highway, expecting to see signs at any moment, but not seeing any. There were no stretches of ocean views, but there were places to turn to the occasional public beach. With speed limits mostly between 35 and 45, this was definitely not the turnpike. We drove nearly to South Portland.

Portland Head Lighthouse is probably the best known lighthouse in Maine.

We stopped at a deli for lunch. Two old-timers seated next to us were playing dominoes. When one headed to the restroom, I asked the other how to find Portland Head lighthouse. He said another half mile or so farther north and to turn at a certain road. We did. Again, no signs to Cape Elizabeth or lighthouse. But when we got there, there was a huge crowd, even tour buses. Somehow they knew how to get there. This is an impressive lighthouse and keepers’ house.

The long trip to find it was worth it, the lighthouse museum covered different types of Maine lighthouses and the different kinds of lights, such as the Fresnel lenses that are used in many Oregon lighthouses. It was very interesting. Dig this! This lighthouse was commissioned by none other than George Washington! A bit of history here. We walked around the base of the lighthouse and took several photos of it and the keeper’s house and also saw in the distance the nearby Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse. Then we went to the gift shop where I bought a book about Maine’s lighthouses.

Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse built in 1905 of granite. Visible from Portland Head Lighthouse.

We came back to Ogonquit and had dinner at Anthony’s. We had fish chowder, bread, wine. That just hit the spot. We stayed up later, so we were adjusting to the jet lag. The next day we would be heading to the Portland area to spend a couple of days.

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#223 Where has the summer gone . . .

 

Between finishing my new book, marketing my other books, responsibilities at Backstreet Gallery, and preparation for the 8th Annual Florence Festival of Books, it was a busy summer. I had hoped to restart my blog in May when I returned from California, but that did not happen.

Now the new book is at the printer, marketing my other books has slowed down with the tourist season over, and the FFOB for 2019 won’t start until next April. That leaves Backstreet, which is not a problem when the others are not consuming most of my time. So I’m hoping to get back on track of posting a blog each Friday.

New Book

My new book, The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED, that which is odd, unusual or quirky covers 26 locales that were unexpected when I actually saw them. The kind of place you would say, “Who’d a thunk it!” or “What the hell!” During my 21 years as an editor/staff writer for Oregon Coast magazine, these were the locales that were the most unexpected. They cover the entire coat, ranging from Astoria to two miles this side of the California state line.

Here is the cover of my new book.

When I first got this idea two years ago, I mentioned it to my publisher, Bob Serra, who did not discourage me. I started with a list of 35. I had to delete some because they were no longer what they once were or no longer existed or those in charge didn’t want certain facts included or I could not come up with appropriate photos. All places in the book were visited and researched either in 2017 or 2018 and all photos are recent and of high resolution.

There are no haunted places, no ghosts; everything can actually be seen by anyone. Some are only visible at high tide and one at extremely low tide. Some are man made and others created by nature or demonstrate nature in action.

Although I finished the writing by the first of March this year and the fact checking by mid-April and turned it over to Bob for editing, that was not the end of my participation.

Last May, when I got back from California, I started on the search for photos. I had mentioned that I needed them by the end of May to all who were doing the fact checking on the 26 stories in hopes that the book could be out by the end of summer. Silly me! By the end of May I had the ones I had taken and very few others.

In my hunt for photos, I dealt with numerous volunteers at museums and public entities, a whole town after writing a letter to the editor requesting photos, various ranks of the Coast Guard, and rangers at the BLM, three different state parks, one national park, and two forest service entities as well as numerous businesses and lots of somebodies who knew somebody who knew somebody with photos. And, yes, I went up and down the coast taking photos and so did Bob. And, yes, I went online and found some but only one actually worked out and that was from Wikimedia Commons.

Some stories had three different sources for three photos. One of the problems was that Bob would only use good quality, high-resolution photos, and many of the photos submitted looked great, but were low resolution. When asked to submit in high resolution, it wasn’t possible, and therefore those photos were unusable. It took until the end of September to get 85 good quality, high resolution photos for the 26 stories. We ended up using 26 photos that I took, 15 by Bob, and I paid for 15 from professional photographers. I could write a book about just the trials and tribulations of acquiring the photos I needed.

One of the UNEXPECTED places in the new book. Hint–it’s on the North Coast.

During the summer I also did much of the front and back pages stuff like the introduction and table of contents and wrote the back cover and Bob designed the cover. By the first of September, we had enough photos that I could write captions and photo credits and Bob could design the stories. Then the last few came in. Whew!

The book went to the printer October 5, and we received the proof copy about two weeks ago. In about another two weeks 1,500 copies should arrive. So after all our hard work, The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED, that which is odd, unusual or quirky! will soon be available. Guides do well and so do books about the weird and odd. Since this is a guide to the odd . . . I think it will do well. I already have 105 names and emails of folks who want to be notified when the book is out and very few of them are from Florence. I’ll notify these folks and put a press release in the newspaper here in Florence when the books actually arrive.

Marketing my other books

Giving a bridges PowerPoint program at an RV park south of Florence..

I did a few PowerPoint presentations, went up and down the coast a couple of times delivering books where I had called ahead, and sold books for the fifth summer at the Yachats Farmers Market on Sundays. I put 2,186 book-related miles on my car between July 1 and Oct 31 (and I was gone much of Oct)

Backstreet Gallery

I enjoy being a part of a community of artists of which some are also writers. I’m actually the only writer there that is not also an artist. So I always tell visitors not to ask me to draw anything! I really enjoy being on duty and meeting folks from all over the country visiting the Oregon coast. And my books sell there—especially when I’m on duty.

8th Annual Festival of Books

We worked hard all summer. In June, it was getting word out to potential participating authors and lining up sponsors, In July and early August, it was accepting applications, sending out information, and answering questions from the 80+ authors and publishers who signed up. August and September were busy with organizing Friday’s activities––the afternoon panel discussion and the evening Meet ‘n Greet and Keynote Speaker––, arranging the caterers for both Friday and Saturday, and designing posters and flyers and having them printed. I was particularly busy distributing posters and flyers to towns and cities outside of Florence, arranging ads, writing press releases, and articles during those two months. Recording radio spots and interviews also took time. It takes a lot to put on an event and having it run smoothly with no glitches.

Here is the FFOB Planning Committee (l to r seated) Maire Testa, Sally Rash, Judy Fleagle and (l to r standing) Connie Bradley, Kevin Mittge, Bonnie MacDuffee, and Meg Spencer. (Aleia Bailey, Victoria Sharbowski, Karen Nichols, and Ellen Traylor  absent.)

I think it was the best one ever. So all the work was worth it. On Friday evening, we had a terrific Keynote Speaker—New York Times bestselling author Amy Stewart. Her Kopp sisters’ books are great fun and based on the true life story of Constance Kopp, one of the first female deputy sheriffs in the country. Stewart gave a very entertaining talk. I was impressed with her rigorous research and fact checking.

On Friday afternoon, we had a dynamite panel of four authors who spoke and answered questions regarding marketing. Cindy Cashman, marketed her book, Everythingt Men Know About Women, in 1995 and it catapulted her to being one of the most successful self-published authors ever—and it was blank! So it was all about marketing. Cashman thinks out of the box. Melody Carlson, from Central Oregon, has written more than 200 books for various age groups and many are romances. She has sold more than seven million copies of her books and goes through a traditional publisher. She is one of the most prolific authors in America.

Ron Lovell, a past university professor who taught many years in the journalism department at OSU, has written 14 books since retiring that are in the mystery genre and many take place on the coast. Then there is Tracy Markley, a personal trainer, who has written three books about fitness for seniors and stroke victims. Although relatively new to the writing game, Tracy uses every conceivable way to market her books. These four panelists offered quite a variety of ideas for marketing.

Marketing panel (l eo r) Cindy Cashman, Melody Carlson, Ron Lovell, and Tracy Markley and the moderator, me, perched on a nearby stool..

At the book festival on Saturday, all but one of the panelists participated selling their books at their own tables and the fourth one was there chatting with participating authors. And Amy Stewart was there for a while. Among well-known authors participating—Bob Welch and Bill Sullivan were there along with 73 other authors and seven publishers.

I chatted with many participating authors and bought seven books and traded one. A few, I’ll give as Christmas gifts. I’m pleased to report that I sold more than I bought and got 14 more sign-ups for my new book. Both participants and attendees seemed to have a good time. So once again, it was a successful event.

***

As soon as the Festival was over on September 29, I had to finish preparing for a trip to the state of Maine with my sister. We were leaving October 1 for a two and half week trip. What a hoot to fly from Portland, OR, to Portland, ME. So my next three blog posts will cover the Maine trip. It was Mainely terrific––typical Maine humor!

 

 

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#222–Nothing like a deadline . . .

 

Last Friday I put in an impossibly long day, only possible because I have a deadline, Friday 13 (no less) to get my edit in for my new book—The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED, see the unusual, odd, and quirky.

I got up at 4 a.m. and hit the road by 6:30 a.m., a time I’m usually just getting up. It was still mostly dark, drizzly, and foggy—especially on headlands. Only traffic was in the towns.

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Actually, this was my first stop in Waldport for a latte.

The purpose of this trip was to finish up factchecking. Although the edit is due right away, I won’t need the photos until the end of May. But I’m getting them figured out. Some I’ll take, some I’ll obtain from businesses or public entities, some I’ll buy, and some my publisher will take.

First stop, Abe in Lincoln City. I intended to only photograph the plaque at the base of the statue. So it didn’t matter if it was raining. But I noticed that everything around Abe had changed, so I would have to take photos. There was new fencing, new pavers, and new landscaping that wasn’t even complete yet. Because of the rain Old Abe had a slate-colored patina. I may have to come back.

 

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All the plantings were gone and new everything around the sculpture.

Next stop, Neskowin ghost forest. It’s only possible to see these petrified stumps at minus tides in the winter, but I wanted to get a shot of what the area looks like most of the year. I lucked out, the rainy drizzle had stopped and fog was lifting. And the tide was out just enough for me to skinny around the poiut without getting my feet wet in Slab Creek.

I had concerns also about my legs and if I would be able to get around on beaches. I was able to as long as I watched my step and didn’t try to go too fast. It was beautiful and I got a great shot of the beach where the stumps appear and of Proposal Rock. I felt really good.

On to Hug Point, just south of Cannon Beach. It takes 3 1/2 to four hours to get from Florence to Cannon Beach. When I got there, the fog was still hanging around, but with sun breaks. I was amazed at all the people. Apparently, it was spring break in Washington and they all headed to the Oregon Coast.

I stopped to get photos of the waterfall and stagecoach road that hugs the rocky headland. But my first photos were of the adorable, unafraid black bunnies near the parking area. I wasn’t the only one taking their pictures.

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Each bunny was adorable.

The waterfall was at its best with the rain we’ve had lately. And I got a great shot of the stagecoach road too. I had to walk a bit of a distance and cross large cobble size rocks that could trip up anybody before getting to the hard-packed sand. But I did it. And the weather was so warm, I didn’t need a jacket.

Then I headed back to Tillamook and the Blimp Hangar and Air Museum south of town. I had an appointment with Phyllis Rice, the acquisitions person. We had a great visit. She handed me a copy of my story that I had previously sent. It had been checked over with some changes, which I will make. I based my story on last year’s research and some changes have occurred. She also bought 20 copies of The Crossings Guide.

Then back through Tillamook and east on Hwy 6 to the Tillamook Forest Center. I had never been there, but it is a fabulous place that I wrote about numerous times for Oregon Coast magazine. I chose it for the book because it is a first-class facility deep in the forest—totally UNEXPECTED. And it has an incredible story to tell of the devastation of the Tillamook Burn fires and the amazing recovery effort of replanting an entire forest. I checked with the person who is checking over my story, talked to a docent from a local pioneer family, saw the film “Legacy of Fire,” and toured the whole facility. Definitely worth a visit. The weather there was sunny and warm.

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The Tillamook Forest Center’s lookout tower is 40-feet tall. Great view!

Then I headed through Tillamook over to the Three Capes Loop to Cape Meares. Not easy to get to any more, since the road is closed from Bayocean to Cape Meares since 2017. It’s very  round-about and slow and the road the last half mile was terrible.

It had turned into one of those absolutely gorgeous days at the coast. Sunny, no wind and very clear. Perfect for photos. So I got a great one of the short, stubby lighthouse and of the Octopus Tree. I had to walk a distance in one direction to see the lighthouse. And on the opposite side of the parking lot, I found a trail and hiked the nearly half mile to the Octopus Tree. Some branches have broken off, but it is still such an unexpected sight.

On both the walk to the lighthouse and the Octopus Tree, I got winded on the uphill sections, and had to walk very slowly on the downhill sections. The trail was wet and mucky in places. So I walked on the edges. Easy to slip and fall. I made it safely and felt good about that.

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The view south from Cape Meares.

I was getting tired, and it was 6 p.m, and I still needed to drive three hours to Florence. I almost skipped Munson Falls, but I’m glad I talked myself into doing it. So back to and through Tillamook and south of town a few miles to the turnoff to the falls. I have never seen a good photograph of this falls, and they are the tallest  in the state of Oregon next to Multnomah Falls and very few people know about them. The state park is described as only partially developed and I found that to be true.

I turned off 101 onto a one-lane funkily paved road with scattered homes, which turned into a graveled logging road, which  turned into the state park road. It was still  single lane with potholes big enough to swallow a car. If I could’ve turned around, I would’ve. The total distance from 101 was probably less than three miles but seemed much longer. The speed limit was 25 mph. Ha! It was more like 2 or 3 mph navigating the potholes.

I was so glad I didn’t meet anyone coming in. There was one car in the parking lot. I took off along the the trail , which was in good shape with only a few mucky spots. On the one steep part, there was a hand rail. So I was good. It was about a quarter mile to the viewpoint. There were steps down to another viewpoint at the base of the falls, but with no handrails, I didn’t even attempt that part.

The falls were full and impressive in their length, even though you can’t see the bottom portion. I got what I think is a better photo than I’ve ever seen of these falls. And the trail follows the creek, which has a number of smaller falls. It was a lovely walk. I met three sets of folks coming up the trail as I was leaving and was able to let them know what a treat they were in for.

Going out on the road was just as hairy as coming in, but I didn’t meet any cars and was very relieved to get back to Hwy 101.

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When I got to Lincoln City, I turned into the D River Recreation Area—very crowded. Still warm and lovely. I parked and walked up to the highway to get photos of the sign about D River, World’s Shortest and a photo of the river. I think both will be usable.

Then I headed home. By the time I got there, it was almost totally dark, the fog was coming in, and the drizzle had begun.

As far as I was concerned, the day had been a success. I accomplished everything I wanted to as far as factchecking for my book. And best of all, I could handle the five different times I had to walk a distance whether on beaches or in the forest. Yes, a totally successful day.

Note: I will be visiting family and friends in California for a few weeks, but someone will be here with Groucho while I’m gone. So no more blog posts until mid-May.

 

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#221–On the road factchecking . . .

 

Last Saturday I was in Lincoln City, Monday Yachats, Wednesday Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside, Friday North Bend, Coos Bay, Bandon, and Sunset Bay State Park.

Once the book is written, you’re not done. At least not the way I do it. My book has 27 stories about the “unexpected” along the coast. Now is the factchecking and acquiring photos one way or another phase. Sometimes I go to museums and do the factchecking myself. Other times I depend on folks who know more than I do about the subject to read the story and get back to me. I don’t like to send stories via email cause I don’t want to see them online somewhere before the book even comes out. So I deliver stories by hand or snail mail. A few I will email but very few.

As to photos, I will take some, I will be able to have photos provided from businesses or public entities, and I may buy some from professional photographers. And, of course, my publisher, Bob Serra, may take some. He did the covers for my two bridge books and that’s why I think they sell so well.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I combined selling books along with the factchecking on these trips.

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I have four unexpecteds in one story, and all are located at Cape Perpetua.

Last Saturday, it was snowy on my deck, but the temps had risen and it had turned to slush by 10:20 a.m. when I left. Heading up the coast, I saw no snow––just periods of rain. I dropped off text and a cover letter at Cape Perpetua and then straight to Lincoln City. I always travel with food. So for lunch I picked Boiler Bay as my scenic lunch spot. Since it was between rain showers, I could also stretch my legs.

I stopped at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum and Director Jeff Syrop had the files I needed ready for me. He also had photos for me to go through. I selected one photo, and he got the paperwork ready. Then I spent three hours going through everything on the Abraham Lincoln Statue and the D River. I was able to verify what I had and to add interesting tidbits. As I worked my way through hundreds of pages of stuff and newspaper clippings, it was exciting to find truly interesting tidbits.

Before a book goes to press everything is subject to change. So on Sunday, I changed my mind about the unexpected at Cape Perpetua. I decided to flesh out the story and give it four pages instead of two. And that also meant four photos instead of two. So on Monday, I dropped off the new version at Cape Perpetua and picked up the old. I knew the ranger would not be in over the weekend.

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Whale Park is one of the quirky unexpecteds in my new book.

Then I headed to Yachats. I got photos of Whale Park and of the grounds of the Little Log Church. And I went over the Log Church story with Mary Crook, the officiate there. Then I stopped by Mari’s books. And Mari wanted more. So I sold her more bridge books. Then I headed home, as I needed to be on duty at Backstreet Gallery from 2 to 6 p.m.

 

On Wednesday before being on duty as a docent at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum from noon to 4 p.m., I stopped at Darlingtonia Botanical Natural Site and verified my information with the interpretive signs and took some photos. The skunk cabbages were at their peak and absolutely beautiful. The Darlingtonia not so much. I’ll be back in May or June when they’re in bloom.

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The skunk cabbage was at its peak.

On Thursday afternoon, I called and emailed some unexpected places for factchecking on the south coast plus I called a few places that carry my books. I set up meetings with folks at two unexpected venues, left messages at two others, and two bookstores wanted more books. I tweaked all the stories involved and wrote cover letters. I finally stopped for dinner at 9 p.m.

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On Friday, I got packets ready with cover letters and copies of stories as well as the invoices and books for the bookstores. I headed out about 11 a.m. and it was cloudy but warmish. I tried to get gas at Freddies, but so was everyone else. This was, after all, spring break for most schools in Oregon. It took three tries, but I finally got gas. Then I headed south.

 

First stop was Books on the Bay in North Bend. Harold wanted more bridge books. Then onto Bandon. I stopped at the Bandon Historical Museum and met with Director Gayle Nix. She had run a copy of information for me about the Legend of Face Rock. I told her about a conflict I had in various spellings of a name I would need to use. So she dug up an old obituary, and we solved the mystery. You’d have thought we won the lottery. In researching something, you feel like a detective and when the mystery is solved, it’s a great feeling.

I love the cooperation I’ve been finding with folks at museums and interpretive centers and other venues. Of course, it helps when you call ahead and find a time suitable for both parties. It works wonders. Just popping in cold with no heads-up is a no-no in what I’m doing both for factchecking and selling books.

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This was all made from plastic debris found on the beach.

I stopped at Washed Ashore in Bandon and dropped off the packet and took some photos. What they do with plastic debris found on the beaches is just incredible.

Then I dropped off books at WinterRiver Books in Bandon. One of my favorite bookstores on the coast.

At both bookstores I told about my new book that I hope to have ready by Christmas. And both Harold at Books on the Bay and Grover at WinterRiver thought it sounded like something that would sell. And Mari at Mari’s Books is also eager to see it. Getting a bookstore’s take on a future book is always a good idea, and preselling your next book never hurts.

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Cape Arago Lighthouse.

Then I headed north and turned off on a back road to Sunset Bay State Park. I saw lots of logging in progress. I arrived a few minutes before 4 p.m. and the folks had just left Sunset Bay, so I headed to Shore Acres and caught the folks just as they were leaving. They will see that the packet gets to Sunset Bay. In my new book, I will be including the one spot along the coast to see the Cape Arago Lighthouse from your car and figured the folks next door at Sunset Bay State Park and/or the Coast Guard, who are in charge of the light, would be able to do some factchecking. I mailed the story to the Coast Guard before I left town.

Then I headed home. It had been a very successful day from my point of view.

As far as factchecking and photo acquisition, I have all the central coast stories either completed or in process and the south coast about halfway to that point. Next week I’ll continue the south coast and work on the north coast. I have a tentative trip planned to the Tillamook area next week. So the fun continues. I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

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#220–Some of my favorite things . . .

 

In “The Sound of Music,” Maria sings to the children about some of her favorite things that make her feel better when she’s feeling bad. Whether I’m feeling bad or not, these are a few of my favorite things.

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It just isn’t breakfast without grapefruit.

Grapefruit––I have a grapefruit half every morning with sugar on it. It’s the only thing I put sugar on or in. I absolutely love eating grapefruit. To me, it’s like a zen experience. I go into a zone when eating it. If the phone rings, I wouldn’t dream of answering until I finished my grapefruit. Whenever I had to take migraine medication, I had to skip grapefruit that day. And when I was on chemotherapy, I had to skip grapefruit for FIVE MONTHS. Grapefruit was one of the things I missed most during chemo. So this is a great way for me to start my day, and I appreciate every single bite.

Cloudy or overcast days––If I’m going to be outdoors, I prefer it to be cloudy or overcast. I’ve had at least 30 skin cancers, including one bad melanoma. And I sunburn easily. Besides, I don’t like hot weather. So for all these reasons, I’m not a fan of sunny days unless I can stay indoors. Then I enjoy the sunny weather.

If I’m going to be outdoors, I’d rather it didn’t rain or have more than a gentle breeze either. So cloudy or overcast days with moderate temps and very little wind fill the bill for me.

Some folks have SAD. They actually get depressed it the weather is rainy or stormy or gray. That’s not me. Some of my favorite days are gray.

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I love to sit and read in the daytime.

Reading––I love to sit at my favorite recliner in the living room with my legs up and read chapter after chapter of a good mystery. Most days I have places to be or things to do and don’t simply sit and read. In the evening, I will give it my best shot but often nod off.

The other day, I played hooky from my to-do list and spent all afternoon reading. I loved it, but felt guilty. That dates back to when I was growing up.

I loved to read as soon as I learned how. But if my mom saw me reading during the day, she’d find some chores for me to do. So I learned to hide out if I wanted to read. If it was warm, I’d go climb a favorite tree or sit on the garage roof. That’s where I read some of my favorite books. In high school, I wised up and put a book cover on my reading-for- pleasure books. That way, mom thought I was studying. Do you remember or did you even have book covers for textbooks?

Wearing socks with sandals––I love wearing sandals because my toes don’t bug me. Since undergoing chemo, I have had some residual neuropathy in my toes, especially my big toes, and closed-toe shoes aren’t much fun to wear any more. But sandals don’t keep my feet warm even in the summer here on the coast. So I wear socks with them.

I happen to enjoy socks and have quite a collection. When I travel, I often buy socks as souvenirs. So I enjoy wearing my socks with my sandals.

Having a cat­­––I love having a cat. They don’t need to be walked morning and night, and they generally stay happy if fed and given some attention. Groucho does like me to stick to a routine. He is very vocal, so I usually know what he wants. I love playing with him in the evening, watching him bat at whatever I’m dangling for him to hit. He gets so excited he even snorts and gnashes his teeth.

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Groucho enjoys the new tub too.

Wherever I am, he’s nearby. If I’m at the computer, he’s usually in my lap. When I’m in the kitchen, he’s often stretched out in the middle of the kitchen floor. And at night, he’s curled up somewhere on the bed. He makes a great companion.

I could go on, but these are a few of my favorite things.

A few weeks ago, I did a post on “Life’s little frustrations.” Well, now I’ve balanced things out.

 

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#219–My big day . . .

 

Although I had sent out invites to everyone I knew that I thought might be interested in attending the 2nd Saturday Gallery Tour reception at Backstreet Gallery, I didn’t expect a big turnout. Only a couple of people actually said they would be there. Most had somewhere else to be or lived away from Florence. I really didn’t expect the out-of-towners to be there but wanted to share the good news.

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2nd Saturday Gallery Tour and reception for featured artists Judy Fleagle and Meredith Draper.

Every 2nd Saturday Backstreet reception honors one or two of the gallery artists, and this was my first time to be so honored. I was sharing the honor with Meredith Draper, the vintage watch artist, who also spins wool into yarn and then weaves it into beautiful scarves that are also on sale at the gallery. She has terrific photos on cards there too. I just have my books there.

Meredith, as the gallery person in charge of window displays, told me she was giving me the whole front window and then helped me get my display together. I had the idea to put the bridge poster of McCullough coastal bridges in a sandwich board configuration facing both out the window and in and flanked by photos I had taken over the years of various McCullough bridges some facing out and some facing in. And my books would be interspersed.

Meredith’s husband, Charles, made two 12- by 18-inch copies of the bridge poster on fabulous paper from the large file I had on a flash drive. Then I took them to Pacific Frameworks to be mounted on foam board and hinged. This project was not cheap, but I’ll be able to use at book fairs in the future.

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My window display featuring McCullough bridges.

I may have had the idea for my window display, but Meredith made it happen. After spending three hours going over a decade of digital photos, I found 22 and put them on a flash drive and gave to her. She selected a dozen and ran them off on good photo paper and then mounted them with frames and backing that she ordered for me. I reimbursed her for them. I was only too glad to have her recommend what to order and to frame them. She had years of experience; I had none. I did write up descriptions of each bridge and mounted them on the back of each photo and on the front on the plastic sleeves that protected each photo.

On the first Tuesday of each month display changes are made. And Meredith spent at least two hours getting my display just right. I love what she did, and it will be there for all the world to see until April 3.

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Erin Leonard and me at the reception.

For Meredith, the reception was not a big deal because she has been the featured artist many times before—not so me! It was a first. I was thrilled and excited to be so honored. The evening before, my sister called to wish me well on “my big day,” and an out-of-town friend sent a dozen yellow roses.

I was also in charge of the reception, as I am for every other one. I do the ‘odd’ months and someone else does the ‘even’ ones. I did all the ‘check on this and check on that’ responsibilities prior to the event and got there early enough to help in set-up and stayed through take-down. During the event, the ‘even’ reception chairman took over, and I will do the same for her next month when she will be unable to attend her month’s event.

So I was able to mingle and socialize during the whole time. It was not a big crowd but a steady crowd. There were always folks I knew to talk to and some of them came just because I was being featured. So I was very pleased, and I’ve never had the time fly by so fast at a Saturday reception. I even sold a couple books.

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Erin Leonard bought one of my bridge books. She’s been threatening to for years!

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Jeff Lovejoy played some of my favorites.

 

The weather was great, at least until the last half hour or so when we were hit with a couple showers, but that was it. Soon it was back to decent weather. And the music was great. Jeff Lovejoy played keyboard and sang, and a lot of the songs just happened to be my favorites.

The food was also great. It was the second time to have Fresh Harvest do the catering, and they outdid themselves. There were four items. One was a mini reuben and another deviled eggs. My favorite was the mini chicken salad on croissant sandwich, and the dessert was puff pastry bites with melted Brie drizzled with a choice of strawberry or raspberry preserves. Doesn’t that simply make you drool! Anyway, the deviled eggs and puff pastry bites ran out before the end of the reception, but I lucked out. I got to take home a few reuben and chicken salad mini sandwiches that were left over. So I was a very happy camper.

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Rhiannon Nickerson from Fresh Harvest is the main one responsible for all the wonderful food.

All in all it was a lovely reception, and I had a wonderful time!

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