Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9/29 Drive to Red Bluff, CA

This drive had two impressive sites: Mount Shasta and an almost dry Shasta lake.  Mount Shasta is certainly impressive.  It really fills the landscape. They had a little rain recently, so the top now has snow.  Apparently, it has been dry on top for several months.   

 This is a cinder cone, not too far from Mount Shasta.

These next photos are really lousy because I took them without looking at the camera screen.  Since I was driving, I just aimed the camera in a general area and kept snapping photos.  In any case, you can see how empty Lake Shasta is.  There is still enough water for boating because you can see the marina way down at the bottom.

Hope this drought ends soon for California.  What is bad is that the temperatures are expected to be in the 90s in the Bay Area this coming week, which is VERY unusual and not very good when you are hoping for rain. 

9/27 Harris Beach State Park

Some more photos of Harris Beach State Park. The campsites are high on a bluff, so you have to walk down to the beach.  It was high tide and very windy this day, so the sand was really blasting me, getting in my eyes and teeth, so I did not take as long a walk as I had wanted to.  Walk down and back was not as bad as I had thought it might be.

Lots of signage and warnings about tsunamis along the coast. 

This is a tsunami siren.

Lots of rocks showing how the shore has eroded over the centuries.

Not too many people out on the beach because of the wind.  Most were huddled out of the wind behind big rocks.

Friday, September 26, 2014

9/26 Drive Along Oregon Coast to Harris Beach

The drive from Bandon south along the coast is one of the nicest in Oregon or Washington because Hwy 101 is mostly directly along the shore so there are lots of scenic pull-offs.  I stopped at Cape Blanco because I wanted to check out the campground, but ended up at the lighthouse on the point of land that juts out into the Pacific.

As I was standing there looking at the rocks, someone pointed out the grey whales that were feeding just offshore.  It was hard to take photos because I would end up snapping the shutter either just before or after a whale blew.  Here is one that I did catch.  Grey whales do not breach or make large blows.

The red arrow here shows the end of a blow, but the blue arrows show the large, dark shapes of the whales just under the surface.\.

Back on the road and more scenery. 

Wouldn't it be nice to live in one of the homes on the hills shown here???
Not a very long drive today, but one with a lot of stops.  Finally arrived at Harris Beach State Park.  My site is much more open and sunny, which makes me happier.  Also, while it does not have as good a view of the ocean as the ones across the road, I can see a couple of peeks from my side window when I stand up!  And the edge of the cliff looking down is a very short walk away. 

You can see the back ends of the RVs just across the road from my site. They have terrific views through the trees.  The road shown here is old Hwy 101 and now part of the state park. 

It goes down a steep hill and dead ends down by the swimming beach.

Some people are enjoying a swim.

If I get up the energy, I will get my bike out tomorrow and ride down here.    

9/25 Bandon, Oregon

I stayed several days here in Bullard Beach State Park, but it rained a lot of the time and the beach was a very long walk.  Also, I have discovered over the last year that I do not like heavily wooded campsites--make me feel claustrophobic.  I would much rather be someplace out in the open where I can see long distances.  Anyway, I did not take any photos of the campsite, but today the sun came out so I went out exploring and found this little lighthouse.


The lighthouse is at the opening of the harbor of Bandon, across the river.

After leaving the lighthouse, I went into the nearby town of Bandon to look around.  Nice little harbor and pretty town with candy store and bakery.  Had some fried clams for lunch and brought home clam chowder for dinner.  Also got an almond croissant for breakfast tomorrow.

It was still a wild and windy day today, as you can tell by the surf here at the edge of the breakwall. This newer lighthouse has a fog horn that beeps day and night!  I can hear it from the campground.

Along the harbor, they have a lot of carved statues and benches.  Each has a plaque on it dedicating it to somebody.  I liked this sea lion mother and baby.

This is a fisherman with pole.

And what I think is a native American holding a sea turtle.

Monday, September 22, 2014

9/20 Newberry National Volcanic Monument

This national park is relatively new, being founded in 1990.  It consists of several parts in this volcanic area that was formed when a rift developed 400,000 years ago.  Several minor volcanos and cinder cones can be seen in the area, but the largest was Newberry Volcano, a shield-type volcano that erupted about 75,000 years ago on an earlier caldera.  This area is still considered to be active, with possible eruptions in the future. 

Here is a site that explains some of the geology:  http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/newberry/newberry_geo_hist_81.html

I stopped first at the Lava Lands visitor center near the cinder cone.  This cone is NOT part of the Newberry volcano itself but is along the rift line. 

The hill in the distance is a cinder cone.  You can drive up in a personal car, but unfortunately they do not allow vehicles over 24'.  Darn.  Next time I will try to hitch a ride!

I drove another 20 miles to the Newberry volcano area.  This is one of the two lakes that fill the Newberry caldera. There are two lakes because a new cinder cone has built up between the two, as shown on the sign below.

I think one of the most interesting areas.  It is a flow of obsidian (glass) that was formed only 1,300 years ago. 

Obsidian is glass formed by intense heat melting sands inside the volcano.  I took the advice of the ranger and wore my loafers, the only closed-toe shoes I own, because of the sharp obsidian on the short trail to the viewpoint. 

The Native Americans used obsidian for spear points and tools.  The broken rocks are said to have a finer edge than even a surgeon's knife, and experiments show that surgery performed with tools made from these rocks result in finer scars.

The obsidian flow is huge!  You are not allowed to walk beyond the viewpoint, but I would not want to anyway.  It does not show in these photos, but the broken rocks were sparkling in the sunlight.

The outside of the rocks looks pretty much like other volcanic rocks, but when they are broken, you can see the glass-like interior.  This is a close-up of one broken rock.

Here is a large, broken boulder near the trail showing the outside and inside of the rock.

And another boulder!

You can see the pile of obsidian and part of the Newberry rim in the distance.

After my volcano visit, I headed off to Eugene, OR, about a three-hour drive. I took this photo of smoke from a forest fire in the distance.  I was lucky not to drive through smoke, however.