#209–Northern Bridge Tour second time around . . .

 

Considering we’ve had over 50 inches of rain since Christmas and we can remember each of the very few days without rain since then, we were really lucky on the first two bridge tours. We had a brief shower off the bus at the Yaquina Bay Bridge first tour and stayed on the bus due to heavy rain at the Siuslaw River Bridge on the second tour. Otherwise, those tours were rain free. With the forecast for steady rain and 20 mph winds on this tour, I prepared accordingly––rain pants, rain hat, waterproof shoes, the works.

It was drizzling as everyone boarded and since this group was there early, we left early. I passed out the itinerary and glossary. And I let everyone know that I would be doing the talking on the bus so when they got off at each bridge stop, they could wander around and look and not have to stick to me. This would be a tour of 10 bridges with nine stops. I let them know that we would try to park the bus at each stop with a good view of the bridge and no one had to get off—especially if it was raining.

A most congenial group.

I knew four people on this group and four other folks were from Corvalis. They had come over the evening before. And one person could not make it because he awoke with a cold. So there were 13 plus Benny, the same driver as last week, and me. It was a most upbeat group. A great group to spend a day with.

On this tour as with the others, I covered McCullough and cathodic protection first because both apply to all the historic bridges. Then I talked about the tied arch design that made McCullough famous, since the first two bridges are good examples––Big Creek and Ten Mile Creek. We stopped after passing through one of them to look back to see if we could see what was different in the photo of the original bridges and today’s look.

Notice the X-shaped cross bracing on the end of the bridge.

The difference is in the upper cross bracing. About 15 to 20 years ago, the two legs of the Xs on either end were cut off and a straight across brace added. This allowed large motor homes and chip trucks to use the road legally––otherwise they had to go down the middle to avoid hitting the bridge.

Notice the straight bar cross bracing on both ends of the bridge.

Next, we turned into Neptune State Park to see Cummins Creek Bridge. Normally with no wind, reflections are possible, but not this time. With all the rain, Cummins Creek was raging. There are always a few folks who did not know this bridge was here.

Cummins Creek Bridge.

Our next stop was spending a half hour at the Historic Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center with Mary Davis, who has been there for many years––and is now retiring. She took the time to explain everything one last time. This is like a museum to the coastal bridges and even has a replica of McCullough’s office with his stuff in it. There’s a model of the old Alsea Bay Bridge and a video of the construction of the new bridge. Unfortunately, the video player was not cooperating, and we didn’t get to see the video. There is also a great timeline of transportation covering the Oregon coast.

Mary Davis at the Historic Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center.

We learned all about the interpretive center.

Then we stopped at the most photographed bridge in the Northwest—the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport. Still no rain so far! We drove under the northern end and got off. We saw two of the elegant stairways, looked under the arches, and walked over to where we could get a decent shot of the whole bridge. There were even a few blue-sky breaks.

The Yaquina Bay Bridge at Newport.

Under the northern end of the  Yaquina Bay Bridge where we could look through the arches.

North of Newport, we turned into Beverly Beach State Park to see Spencer Creek Bridge, one of the replacement bridges designed with a sense of elegance. It’s built to last 120 years and to withstand a major tsunami. Everyone was impressed with its massive arch and attention to detail in the decorative portions. It’s really close to the waves, and we were all amazed at the numerous logs that have washed up under the bridge from the ocean this winter. And the waves were still in battering mode on this trip.

The massive arch of the Spencer Creek Bridge dwarfs members of our group.

The next stop got the biggest cheers––Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay. Because this restaurant consistently has wonderful food and good service along with its fabulous view right on the bay, no one left disappointed. Two large tables were set up for our group. At the table I sat at, folks enjoyed wine or beer with their meals and nearly all of us had dessert. A very enjoyable lunch to be sure!

From this point on, we headed back towards Florence. But before leaving Depoe Bay, we turned at the signal and parked off the highway at public parking. We walked down to and under the Depoe Bay Bridge. Actually, we were going to look at the two Depoe Bay Bridges side by side—one designed by McCullough in 1927 and one built in 1940 after a fishing village had developed. The two bridges are very similar, but not the same. It’s not hard to tell which one McCullough designed. Most people don’t realize that there are actually two bridges, and there are always a few who won’t believe it until they see it. And still no rain! I tempted fate by removing my rain pants after lunch.

The Rocky Creek Bridge was once on Hwy 101, but the highway was moved several years ago up on the slopes of Cape Foulweather when the highway started dropping off into the ocean.

It was only a short distance to Otter Crest Loop where we saw the beautiful and symmetrical Rocky Creek Bridge (aka Ben Jones Bridge). Again, folks oohed and ahhed because most people don’t realize this bridge is even here. There are also interpretive displays about McCullough, cathodic protection, and Ben Jones, the Father of the Oregon Coast Highway. He was the one that introduced a bill in the state legislature in 1919 to build a coast highway.

I passed out a chart of all the McCullough bridges on the coast and a self-guided tour of the coast bridges complete with map. So as a group we were discussing these. And I was so engrossed in answering questions and giving the pop quiz that I forgot to tell Benny to stop at the wayside at the northern end of the Alsea Bay Bridge. We were on the bridge before I realized it. Since we were behind schedule, I didn’t have him turn around and go back.

Between Waldport and Yachats we ran into a terrific squall with heavy rain. Fortunately, it didn’t last.

Cook’s Chasm replacement bridge at Cape Perpetua.

Next stop was Cook’s Chasm, another one of the replacement bridges built with a sense of elegance. We got off the bus to take a look. This is also where you can see the spouting horn at high tide. Since it wasn’t high tide, no spouting horn for us.

Cape Creek Bridge at Heceta Head State Scenic Viewpoint.

And the last stop was Cape Creek Bridge, the only aqueduct-style bridge designed by McCullough and the only one in the state. Everyone was impressed by the size of this bridge at 100-feet high. I am also impressed by its complexity and beauty. McCullough considered this one of his most difficult bridges to design. And I always have to regale folks with the facts that this was the last section of the Oregon Coast Highway to be completed needing both a tunnel and a bridge. And because of these two, this section was the most expensive––known as the “million-dollar mile.”

A familiar sight throughout the day.

Every stop was a photo op.

Then we headed to Florence and LCC. None of us could believe that we weren’t rained on even once and no wind! It turned out to be a great day, after all, for checking out Oregon’s incomparable coastal bridges.

 

Posted in Adventures with travel, Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, Judy's Book Adventures, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#208–14 bridges in three tours—Tour 2 (Florence to North Bend)

 

Would it rain (Plan B) or not (Plan A)? We were ready either way.  My 11 folks who’d signed up for the Southern Bridge Tour, plus Benny the bus driver, were ready to check out bridges. We had rain in Florence, but by Reedsport, it stopped and didn’t come back—my anti-rain dances, chants, and prayers worked! So we ended up doing Plan C (a hybrid).

This tour had only four bridges, but three are among the most important bridges McCullough designed. So I had a lot to say about each one. I like to do the talking in the bus and have people spread out and check out the bridges once they get off. And for those who have difficulty getting around, this is a good plan. They can just stay on the bus and not miss too much—usually the bridge can be seen from the bus.

I passed out the itinerary and glossary and started out by giving the importance of McCullough. Up to this point it was the same for the seven folks who were also along last week. Only four people were new. With all the familiar faces, it was like old-home week.

Siuslaw River Bridge

We paused at the Gothic arches under the Siuslaw River Bridge and got the cathedral view. But we did not get off the bus and walk to the deck in the bridge interpretive park that has the best view of the bridge in town. Nor did we walk up on the bridge both of which I had planned. It was simply raining too hard. So we parked where the bridge was in view. I gave the cathodic protection talk. This process was begun on this bridge in 2015 and will finish in 2019. Then I discussed the why and wherefore of the bridge design with the double bascule drawbridge, pier houses, and tied arches.

This is the cathedral view of the arches under the bridge taken on a less rainy day.

The bridge is open. This shot was taken in 1936 when bridge was brand new.

Easy to see the design of the bridge in this shot.

While we sat in the bus in the rain, I was able to read a couple of segments from Crossings and regale my audience with old-timer stories. As we crossed the bridge slowly, we looked closely at the entry pylons and the pier houses to see the Art Deco and Egyptian embellishments. And we checked out the four-inch higher, brand new bridge rails, now up to code and made of higher quality concrete . . . but with the same design.

Umpqua River Bridge

The Umpqua River Bridge, while the least impressive of McCullough’s larger coast bridges, does have a lot going for it. You just have to look a little harder. The design of the bridge rails is unique, the entry pylons at the portals to the double tied arches have Art Deco embellishments, and under the bridge are the same Gothic arches with cathedral views.

This was taken after bridge had been cleaned up and still new in 1936.

 

Umpqua River Bridge under construction. Notice the swing-span on its very large support pier. .

What makes the bridge design unique is the swing-span. It is the largest one that McCullough ever designed at 430 feet and is the only swing-span left in Oregon on a highway. It’s a common design for railroad bridges. I told why this drawbridge design was chosen and how some of the problems of building it were solved. And how this bridge is in the process of finishing up two years of work—painting the swing-span and replacing all the bridge rails with newer ones upgraded, up to code, and with the same unique design.

The bridge is completed and the road open through the largest road cuts in Oregon highway construction at the time.

This bridge project was more involved than any of the other bridges McCullough designed because of switching from a ferry traveling 2 ½ miles between Gardiner and Reedsport to a highway covering less distance between the two towns. The ferry had to go around the railroad bridge and Bolon Island. But the new highway would cross the island connecting the Smith River and the Umpqua River. And a smaller bridge over the Smith River had to be built. This island was swampy where the Smith River Bridge would be connecting and there was a 550-foot wide ridge that was 180 feet high on the other end where the Umpqua River Bridge connected. The swampy part had to be filled in and the ridge either had to be cut down by 140 feet or a 550-foot tunnel bored through it. The tunnel was seriously considered first before being discarded in favor of the road cut. So the largest road cut in the state to date was begun.

All of this was going on while the Umpqua River Bridge was being built. Then when it was finished in February 1936, the half-mile of swampy land between the southern end of the bridge and Scholfield Slough needed to be filled in. So this brand new bridge had to endure three specially made large dump trucks hauling dirt from the road cut north of the bridge to the area to be filled south of the bridge around the clock for five months. It caused damage to some of the supports and one had to be cut loose and reconnected later. It also made the bridge incredibly dirty. In August 1936, brooms and hoses cleaned off tons of dirt. When the Umpqua River Bridge opened on July 2, 1936, it was in its very dirty condition and to no fanfare—a newspaper article of about three inches and no celebration. Possible celebrations were planned but postponed indefinitely.

My captive audience on the bus learned about all of this while sitting at the historic turn-out just north of the bridge in the middle of the road cut and heard more while crossing the bridge as we checked out the swing-span and looked for the bridge tender’s shack located high above the road.

This is taken looking through the Gothic arches under the bridge.

The rain had stopped, so we all got off the bus underneath the bridge. We checked out the cathedral view, looking through the arches. It was great fun to stretch our legs and take photos.

On September 8, 2011, the bridge had a dedication ceremony. Here County Commissioner Susan Morgan cuts the ribbon on the bridge. Notice the swing-span open in the background.

After we got back on the bus, I told them about how the bridge finally had a dedication 75 years later with speakers and a parade and all because of my book Crossings. I had referred to the Umpqua River Bridge as the Rodney Dangerfield of McCullough bridges, and folks decided to do something about that.  (See blog post #16, September 2011)

On the way to Schooner’s Café for lunch, I gave a little of Reedsport’s swampy, often flooded early history. It was easy to see the dike and the wall built to counter flooding. Schooner’s is on the river next to the Discovery Center. We got there right on time. The food was yummy, and we all enjoyed the meal and river view.

Enjoying lunch at Schooner’s Cafe in Reedsport.

The bridge in the background is the railroad bridge with the swing-span closed.

Haynes Inlet Slough Bridge

The Haynes Inlet Slough Bridge was one of the replacement bridges built in the past 12 years or so that shows a return to elegance. It can best be seen from the causeway heading across the inlet to the North Spit. We went all the way across the causeway and turned around at the first opportunity and then stopped at a turnout just before a small bridge with a great view of the Haynes Inlet Bridge and the McCullough Memorial Bridge over Coos Bay.

Haynes Inlet Slough Bridge is easily seen from the causeway leading out to the North Spit.

The Haynes Inlet Bridge was built in two segments. The first in 2001 while the old bridge continued to handle traffic. Then the old bridge was removed and the second segment was built in its place in 2004. Strangely enough, this new bridge is now the widest bridge on the Oregon Coast; it could handle five lanes of traffic.

We got off the bus at the turnout and were able to take photos of both bridges.

McCullough Memorial Bridge

The more than a mile long McCullough Memorial Bridge.

From the turnout, we could see almost all of the McCullough Memorial Bridge––all but the southern end. It really is the best view you can get of the bridge from a car without trespassing on private property.

Notice the containment structure and that the deck arches south (right) of the structure have the gray look of the cathodic protection.

We could see the containment structure on the bridge where the cathodic protection preparation was taking place. This bridge is in the third year of the five years needed to do the northern end of the bridge. The southern end has been completed and took four years. We could also see the new bridge rails installed.

We all enjoyed the ride through the steel truss mid-section of the bridge. We were mesmerized by the seemingly endless steel Gothic arches. This section of the bridge is longer than the entire Siuslaw River Bridge. That’s when you realize the size of this bridge; it’s a little over a mile in length.

One of three elaborate stairways designed by McCullough.

When we got to the other end, we parked by the plaza at the end of the bridge. We checked the interpretive signage and walked down the elegantly designed staircase. This staircase is found on three ends of the bridge, and we got to see two of them. We not only took photos of the staircases but of the arches below the bridge.

Of all the bridges that McCullough worked with, this bridge was his favorite. Originally named the Coos Bay Bridge, it was renamed the McCullough Memorial Bridge in 1947, the year after McCullough died.

The arches as seen below the bridge.

Before leaving North Bend, we stopped at the restrooms in Simpson Park and then did a turn-around around a “village green”––a pleasant way to get back on the highway, heading north. At the first signal after the park, turn right and there it is, surrounded by streets and houses. It consists of green grass . . . that’s all. That’s why I call it a village green.

This was a typical scene throughout the day.

On the way back to Florence, we had a pop quiz on the glossary terms. My favorite response was regarding the tied arches. Question: What are tied arches? Incorrect answer: When two arches are tied together. It was a laugh-out-loud moment for all of us. Correct answer: The tied arch, also known as the bowstring arch, is designed where the roadway is part of the arch creating the “bowstring” to tie it together so well that minimal supports are needed. This was the design that made McCullough famous and made it possible to build bridges anywhere. You could even build a bridge on sand very close to the waves—such as Big Creek and Ten Mile Creek Bridges that have been standing for 85 years.

Before arriving back at LCC, passed out the self-guided tour with map to all 14 bridges between Depoe Bay and North Bend. On today’s tour, we didn’t stick to the itinerary regarding on and off the bus and spent more time than planned at each stop after lunch making us a half hour late getting back. No one seemed to mind.

Posted in Adventures with travel, Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, Judy's Book Adventures, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

#207–14 bridges in 3 tours—Tour 1 (Florence to Depoe Bay)

 

The forecast was for cloudy. I was so thankful after days of torrential rain. The day started out with drizzle, which is nothing compared to what we’ve been having. I didn’t want to head up the coast to see 10 bridges with 10 stops and have everyone getting drenched at each stop.

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Here is our 14-passenger bus 

I arrived 30 minutes early and parked near where the bus was parked in the LCC parking lot and right away the bus driver walked up with the mobile PA system. Within another 15 minutes everyone had arrived and was onboard.

I greeted folks and passed out the schedule as they climbed onboard. The schedule also included a glossary of bridge terminology. By the end of the day, folks would know the difference between pylon and piling and new meanings for bent and dolphin.

The trip was full—every seat taken. I got the mic working and did my official greeting and went over who McCullough was and his importance to the bridges. Then I went over the schedule and emphasized that while it wasn’t set in stone, it was the best way to fit everything in and get back by 4 p.m. And I noticed that at least two couples had brought along The Crossings Guide. My kind of folks!

I also had a script to go over explaining cathodic protection. McCullough and cathodic protection pertain to all the historic bridges, so I wanted to get those in first. I had notecards to go with each individual bridge to nudge my memory. My plan was to go over the important points I wanted to make while still on the bus before each bridge stop. Once off the bus folks scatter and can’t all hear me. That’s what I want. I don’t want to have 14 people following me everywhere; I’d feel like a mother duck.

When I was doing the cathodic protection while the bus was moving, I was trying to use the mobile PA system. I have to hold the mic a certain way and quite close to my mouth and move it with my head while reading my script. My hand started shaking holding the mic, and I couldn’t get it to stop. Then I started getting annoying feedback from the PA system. So within the first 10 minutes on the road, I quit the PA system and just spoke loudly. It’s a small bus and I sit on one of the side seats almost in the middle of the bus. Everyone seemed to hear me fine. I didn’t stand cause it’s too hard to keep your balance.

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Big Creek Bridge

We drove slowly through Big Creek and Ten Mile Creek Bridges. Those were the only ones where we didn’t get off the bus. Our first stop was Cummins Creek Bridge, where you have to drive down into Neptune State Park and walk a short distance to see the bridge.

Next was the Historic Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center. Mary Davis, who has been there as long as I’ve known about it, was still on duty training one of her new replacements. So she gave a brief overview of the Center. It is like a museum to the bridges of the coast and even has a replica office of McCullough, which is filled with his stuff. The Center has a model of the old Alsea Bay Bridge and a film of the building of the new Alsea Bay Bridge. I also dropped off more copies of my books that they had ordered a few days before. It goes without saying that this is one of my favorite places on the coast.

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My special cup!

They used to sell cups that show the old Alsea Bay Bridge and when filled with a hot liquid will also show the new bridge. Well, I didn’t know about them, but one of the folks on the tour did. He asked her if she had any and she brought out one, explaining that it was their last one and they were unable to get any more. He cajoled her into giving it to me as The Bridge Lady. She did. Realizing that she had been put on the spot, I promised to take her out to lunch. I was also really tickled to have the cup.

 

 

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Then onto Yaquina Bay Bridge. We admired the stairs and walked up them onto the bridge but didn’t walk along the sidewalk. It is narrow and the cars are very close. I didn’t feel comfortable taking the group there. We did cross the road under the bridge, which has hardly any traffic, and walked over to a good viewpoint. The only rain shower we got caught in on the whole trip was to the viewpoint and back.

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Yaquina Bay Bridge. I actually took this photo two weeks earlier on my test run up the coast for this trip.

We stopped at Beverly Beach State Park to see Spencer Creek Bridge. It’s one of the newer bridges built during the past 12 years or so and shows a return to elegance that I think McCullough would’ve appreciated. It is also very sturdy and built to last 120 years and to withstand a sizable tsunami.

By the time we got to Depoe Bay, the sun was shining and the clouds were dissipating. Our bus driver was able to find a spot and park along the highway really close to our lunch spot—Tidal Raves. We arrived right at noon, our scheduled time, and they had two large tables set up for us. As usual, the food and service and view were all wonderful.

We then parked in the public parking lot right off the highway by the signal in Depoe Bay and walked back to go under the Depoe Bay Bridge. I wanted the group to see that this bridge is actually two bridges side by side. One built in 1927 as the first reinforced concrete bridge on the coast and one built in 1940 after the village of Depoe Bay had formed on both sides of it. It was interesting to see that the older bridge had more decoration, which was because McCullough designed it. By 1940, he was no longer the state Bridge Engineer; he had been promoted to Assistant State Highway Engineer and was no longer involved in designing bridges.

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Some of the folks checking out the Rocky Creek Bridge.

We then went a short distance to the turnoff at Otter Crest Loop and only went about a tenth of a mile to see Rocky Creek Bridge (aka Ben Jones Bridge). We turned into the wayside to see interpretive signs about McCullough, cathodic protection, and Ben Jones who authored the bill in 1919 to build Highway 101. The loop continues on to the village of Otter Rock, but it is one-way south and very narrow in places due to the road dropping off into the ocean. That’s why the highway was rerouted years ago higher up on the slopes of Cape Foulweather.

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Pylon from old Alsea Bay Bridge.

Just before Waldport, we stopped at the Historic Alsea Bay Bridge Wayside just north of the bridge to admire the pylons (those decorative pillars at the entrance to the bridge and also used as you drive onto the bridge leading to a part that you drive through). I am always amazed at the decorative detail on each pylon. From this wayside is a different view of the new Alsea Bay Bridge.

Then we drove on to Cape Perpetua and stopped at the parking area by the viewpoint at Cook’s Chasm. The Cook’s Chasm Bridge here is another of the replacement bridges built in the past 12 years or so that show a return to elegance. I call this one a small flying arch. It’s worth a stop to see, and if the tide’s in, you’ll also get to see a spouting horn right down below.

Our last stop was Cape Creek Bridge, the only aqueduct style bridge in Oregon and the only one designed by McCullough. I think it’s a fabulous bridge. Along with the adjacent tunnel, this was the most expensive segment of the Oregon Coast Highway when it was being built. It was referred to as the “million dollar mile” and was the last segment of the highway to be completed.

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Cape Creek Bridge

On the way back, we reviewed the glossary, and everyone received a self-guided tour to all 14 bridges between Depoe Bay and North Bend. We arrived back at 4:05 p.m.. It had been a terrific day from my point of view. And the folks on the trip seemed to enjoy it too. Although, they may not want to hear the word “bridge” again for awhile. . . .

 

 

 

 

Posted in Adventures with travel, Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#206–Making it through the winter . . .

 

Since my name’s not John Grisham, I need to be out there selling my books to get back the cost of publishing/printing my latest book, Devil Cat, the books I bought from the publisher to sell for Around Florence, the cost of printing the fourth edition of Crossings, and the third edition of The Crossings Guide.

I’m not around for most of October and half of December, so I’m not out selling during those times. And many of the visitors to the coast who buy my books aren’t around from November through mid-March. So these are lean times. In fact, the only sales I made in January were five books at Backstreet Gallery. But there are other ways to make it through these lean months . . .

Editing jobs

I edited a children’s book last week that was delightful. It was mostly copy editing not content editing. And later this month I will edit another children’s book. So that brings in some money.

Presentations

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My PowerPoint presentation about the Historic Coastal Bridges in Yachats on February 4.

I’ve done many presentations—about 60––since Crossings came out in 2011. I’ve always been asked to do them, never sought them out. Other writers have asked me what I did to get them. And the best answer I can come up with is to have a book or books that people want to know about or become an expert on a topic that people want to know about. Since I’ve become known as The Bridge Lady of the Oregon Coast, I’m sort of the go-to person when folks want to know more about the bridges.

Even though I don’t usually charge to do presentations, I will often ask for money to cover gas expense. And I always ask for the opportunity to sell my books afterwards.

The other evening, February 4, I did my newly revamped Bridges presentation in Yachats. I didn’t request gas money because it isn’t that far. It was a stormy day, so my contact in Yachats offered to let me spend the night if I didn’t feel like driving back between Yachats and Florence in the dark in such weather. It is one of the more rugged sections of coast.

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Because I don’t have a clicker to push, I had a human volunteer who keyed into my finger pointing  when it was time to click. There were a couple of humorous moments, but over all, it worked well.

I left early and made it there in time to get set up and still be able to greet folks and sell books beforehand. Even with the blustery weather, about 35 folks turned out for the Yachats Academy of Arts and Sciences lecture series. I was thrilled. And they were an attentive audience and asked good questions

Afterwards, I signed books that I sold and made $185. Not bad! And this talk timed out just as I thought it would and seemed to hit the right notes with the audience. After all the presentations I’ve done, I can tell if they’re staying with me or tuning out.

And because of doing this presentation, I was asked to do two more—one at Salishan and one possibly at the Heceta Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast. Last summer when I had my canopy up selling books at the Yachats Farmers Market, I was asked to do this one. Being willing to be out there selling books, leads to all sorts of opportunities.

After the presentation, I ended up driving home. The rain had eased a bit. Because of two years of repaving, the road is smooth and lit so well with reflectors, it is almost like driving on a runway. And due to the weather, I was nearly the only car on the road.

Field Trips

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This field trip in 2013 covered 14 bridges in 8 1/2 hours. This year we will divide into two days.

In 2013, I did a field trip through the local branch of Lane Community College to see the historic coastal bridges on a Saturday. We did 14 bridges in 8 ½ hours. It was great fun, and I’ve been willing to do it again. So when I was asked last summer, I said yes. However, the new leader of the Outward Ventures programs wanted me to divide it into two days. I did, even though it meant ten bridges on the north trip and four on the south trip. Of the large McCullough bridges, three are to the south. Most of the northern bridges are the smaller ones.

Barbara Baker

Barbara Baker, who used to be in charge of the Outward Ventures, is seen here on the field trip. This is the marvelous stairway found at three ends of the  McCullough Memorial Bridge.

The bridges are popular. The day registration opened, the northern field trip was filled by noon. And the south one filled within a couple weeks. They are planned for March. After Christmas, I was asked if I would do a second one going north because there was a long waiting list. I said I would. So for three Fridays in a row, I’ll be doing bridge field trips in a small bus that holds 14. How cool is that! I’ll be paid to chatter on and on about a subject dear to my heart. And I’ll probably sell some books to boot.

Gift Certificate

During the Florence Festival of Books, a Florence resident stopped at my table and asked me to consider doing a private tour of the bridges because she wanted to give her son and his wife a gift certificate to do just that for Christmas. She got the idea when she read about the college bridge field trips in the newspaper.

I considered it and thought that it could work, if I wasn’t the driver. I would only do it, if the folks receiving the gift certificate were responsible for the driving. So she created a gift certificate and gave me a photocopy and paid me in advance. Sometime this spring, at a time convenient to the gift certificate recipients and myself, we’ll take a private tour of the bridges.

So during the lean months, I’ve found ways to bring in some money. I’ll keep you posted on how the field trips turn out.

Notes: I’ve done the preliminary research for my new book and culled the list of places I’ll be writing about from 35 to 30. I’ll be starting the writing next.

I’m not going to the South Coast Writers Conference this year (one of the few I’ve missed during the past 20 years) because I’m one of four authors being honored at Backstreet Gallery on the same day as the main part of the conference––February 11. The Author’s Reception at Backstreet will be from 3 to 5 p.m. and coincides with the Second Saturday Art Walk in Florence. If you live close enough to come, consider this an invitation.

Posted in Around Florence (Arcadia Press Images of America series, Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known, Judy's Book Adventures, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

#205–A time for beginnings . . .

 

January is the beginning of a new year, and many folks are basking in the smugness of still sticking to the resolutions they made. Some find it a time to restart or revamp some aspect of their lives or even to start something brand new. I don’t do resolutions, but this year, the second sentence totally applies to me.

Restarting Facebook Page

I was having so much trouble with Facebook that I decided to just have nothing to do with it. But it was a place where I posted my blog and many of my followers dropped out because they stopped seeing any new blog posts on Facebook and figured I was no longer doing it.

So I spent a few hours one day working out some of the problems, and decided to quit complaining about it and start all over again.

Now I not only post my blog on it, but I’m posting other stuff too. At times a conversation string gets going, and at other times, there are a lot of likes. And within these names are friends I’ve known 50+ years since college days, friends I’ve known for 30 years, and newer friends as well as family and neighbors. These folks––all jumbled up from various parts of my life––are now a part of my Facebook experience, and that’s what I like best about Facebook.

Revamping PowerPoint Presentation

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These are the posters seen from Florence to Newport about the premiere showing of my newly revamped PowerPoint presentation.

I’ve given between 50 and 60 presentations about the topics of my books: bridges, history of Florence, and rescue animals that made great pets. About 40 have been about the bridges. My first bridges presentation, after Crossings came out in 2011, included a lot of old-timers’ stories. On these presentations, I heard “That was the best program I’ve ever heard!” again and again.

In 2013, when The Crossings Guide came out, I totally changed the PowerPoint presentation to cover the part Crossings and I played in the bridge celebrations, interactions with bridge aficionados, and then taking them down the coast bridge by bridge. It always had attentive audiences, but never over-the-top reactions like the first one.

So I’ve totally revamped it, which took a few days. I kept favorite parts of both presentations plus added new stuff. I really like it, and I’m excited about it. Of course, my passion for the bridges hasn’t dimmed.

The premiere showing will be at the Yachats Commons at 6:30 in the evening on February 4, 2017. It’s a part of the Yachats Academy of Arts & Sciences (dig that name), a lecture series. I’ve delivered posters around Florence, posted on Facebook, emailed folks I thought might be interested, and wrote a press release for the Siuslaw News. The YAAS are taking care of Yachats to Newport. So I hope a good crowd shows up.

Starting New Book

I have begun my new book, which will be a guide to the ‘unexpected’ on the Oregon coast.

Carole in whale rib cage

Carole, my downstairs renter, in the ribcage of a whale at the Washed Ashore Museum. Everything is made from litter collected on the beach.

I’ve got folders made for each of the 35 possibles, printed out a new revised list, gone over the list with my publisher, Bob Serra, who added a couple, and started the research.

Astoria Column

The Astoria Column has the history of the area spiraled from bottom to top in an Italian fresco type art form.Inside spiral staircase 164 steps to the top.

Everyone to whom I’ve talked about it has asked to be put on a list for a copy, which sounds promising! So I think it will do well, and I’m anxious to really get going on it.

I’ve included photos of a couple possibles. If you have any suggestions, send them my way. At this point, nothing is set in stone.

Becoming More Active in the Democratic Party

I was so disappointed, saddened, and really scared for our country when Trump won, that I truly wanted to move out of the U.S. for the next four years. My spirits picked up when I listened to Obama’s wonderful farewell address. He said not to drop out when things don’t go your way, but to do your part in making a change. Think of change as opportunity. Pick up a clipboard and dive in. And that he’s not going to fade away. That he will jump into the fray in the event any principles (and he listed a few) become threatened.

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Stephanie Ames holding sign with which I totally agree.

Well, I dove in this last Saturday with the Women’s March here in Florence. We had somewhere between 250 and 350. I’m not sure of the official number. Even though we had some rain showers, it was a terrific showing. We stuck to sidewalks and tried not to block any intersections or side streets. It was great fun. I saw many familiar faces and met some new folks. There were no Trump bashing signs. There were folks of all ages and a fair number of guys too.

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We kept to sidewalks and didn’t block intersections–all 250 to 350 of us in the Women’s March in Florence.

Later we heard from five speakers at the Florence Events Center. And, again, there was no Trump bashing. We heard a rallying cry for women to channel their disappointment into doing more for women’s rights, became more knowledgeable about what Planned Parenthood actually does (only 3% abortions), received a report on the state of homelessness in Florence, learned about being more inclusive as opposed to becoming more exclusive at all levels, and discovered how a ‘living wage’ not just a ‘minimum wage’ helps not only people affected but the country as a whole. I came away energized!

These are my new beginnings. I’ll keep you posted as the year progresses.

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#204–Arrival in Bakersfield . . .

I didn’t expect a welcoming committee. One with a sign and one taking photos with her smart phone. It was after midnight, and I was tired and sleepy. This definitely woke me up. It was great fun and as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, it was a highlight of my trip. My sister, Edna, is holding the sign just like a tour guide looking for her group.We’ll remember this for a long time.

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#203–Of cabbages and kings . . .

“’The time has come,’ the walrus said, ‘to talk of many things. Of shoes and ships – and sealing wax. Of cabbages and kings.’” This quote from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll, sums up exactly the hodge-podge of topics I will touch on this first day of 2017.

Trip south

I left on December 17 when Eugene was still in the grip of the ice storm of the 14th. Everything was encased in a thick coating of ice––every leaf, every twig. And everything was decorated with icicles, including the cars in Long-term Parking. They looked like they were decorated for the holidays. With the temps just above freezing and the sun shining, it was beautiful but sad because nearly every tree was damaged or ruined. The main roads were easily passible but the secondary roads were still a mess with trees and branches down and lines too.

For the first time since 2012, I got away and returned pretty much according to schedule. There were delays, but one or two-hours, not one or two days.

Flying in and out of San Francisco and Bakersfield was easy, but returning to Eugene in heavy ground fog was SCARY! The first sighting of the ground was the runway and immediately feeling the wheels hit. The pilots were flying blind with total faith in radar.

It was a wonderful visit with family. Highlights were my sister and long-time friend greeting me at the Bakersfield airport when I landed at a little after midnight. My sister held a sign with FLEAGLE written like tour group guides do. It was hilarious. Putting up the Christmas tree with Mom handing us ornaments. Opening presents around the tree on Christmas morning. Christmas dinner of Cornish game hens with many side dishes for eight people and everything turning out good.

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My new painting. I love it!

BSG one-year anniversary

As I’ve mentioned before, joining Backstreet Gallery has been a good move for me. To celebrate, I’m buying two paintings by two members. One is already in my kitchen, Punk Rock Duck, by Claudia Ignatieff of a hooded merganser. I fell in love with it when I first saw it. The other is a scene of ocean waves and rocks by John Leasure and again I saw it and wanted it. Both paintings are original oils. But I waited, to see if I continued to want them, to be able to afford them, and to determine where I wanted to put them.

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My new, new glasses are gray on the sides, slightly different shape, and blend in with my hair. More importantly, they have a stronger prescription. Most people won’t even notice a change.

New glasses

I bought new glasses this past fall, but they made me feel like I was wearing someone else’s. And one eye would close of its own accord after driving or reading for a period of time when wearing them. So I went back to the optometrist and she reexamined my eyes and found that one eye was seeing double. So the lens for that eye was reworked. I picked up the new, new pair of glasses yesterday. They are wonderful! No problems! I am so relieved.

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It’s the mid-size pieces that enable a fire to keep burning.

Woodpile

We are expecting a week of very cold weather. When that happens, I need to burn wood to keep the upstairs warm. But my woodpile has been picked through to where only pieces too large to fit in my stove were left. So I hired a fellow just before I headed south to split those last 50 or 60 pieces. He did so, and it’s wonderful to have wood that I don’t have to struggle with. Now it’s easy to build a fire and keep it going.

Sorting through stuff

Last year in January, I sorted through all the files in my office for the first time in about 20 years and threw out tons of stuff. Yesterday and today, I sorted through my clothes for the  first time in years. Some were old and worn enough to toss, but many pants and tops that I never wear were perfectly wearable and are now in bags that I will drop off at the Humane Society thrift store. And I found stuff to wear that I liked and didn’t remember I had. It’ll be just like Christmas––an extended Christmas!

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This book,  from my nephew and his wife for Christmas, will help in some of my research of the unexpected on the Oregon Coast.

Next 12 weeks’ schedule

Approximately twelve weeks will lapse before my next trip south. During this time, I hope to do the research and writing for my next book about the unexpected on the Oregon Coast. I work best with a deadline and a schedule. I plan to put the schedule together tomorrow, and to get started later in the week.

And I want to add walking to my routine to help my leg. I plan to continue two times a week at the gym and to add walking on the days I don’t work out. Maybe I’ll lose the pounds that I put on over the holidays too.

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 turns out to be a really good year for you.

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