Old Diary

More Valley-ing

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We’ve been seeing signs for ADA, OR, and wondered what we might find in ADA. The perfect day to find out.

Saturday was a good day to get out and do some valley-ing.  We picked up our gear from the two departing volunteers and made short work of that.

On our way to exploring we were struck once again by how close to Spring the Oregon Coast has this early in the year.  After a  lifetime of long winters it just seems wrong for us to be so close to Spring so early in the year.  But we are not complaining!  It’s just that it’s so different from everything to which we are  accustomed.

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I’m lovin’ the redbuds that are all in bloom. We also saw a nice front-of-house garden with daffodils already in bloom.

2014022118001653 So, let me tell you about Ada.  Driving US 101 just South of Florence is a small road heading East with a tiny road sign to ADA GRANGE.  We have noticed advertising in the Oregon Mile by Mile brochure for Ada as a potential tourist stop and very little by way of details.  So the ‘goal’ for the afternoon drive was to check out this tourist attraction.

The first thing we noted upon making our turn was that the road sign said it was 13 miles down the road.

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Lots of lovely valleys

Thirteen miles down the road in Oregon is not 13 miles down the road in Wisconsin!  We are learning the joys of Oregon and the trials and testings of Oregon;  one road at time – one valley at a time.

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It’s Spring and the water is high. And the roads are narrow.

Even though it’s only February, it’s clear that the birds are already on their way North — well, some of them.  We see more geese, snow geese and otherwise heading north.  They spend a few days and then they are gone again.  We are seeing different ducks than the overwintering ducks that never left.  And for a Wisconsinite it’s nice to see a Mallard or two among them.  We have so many of them in Wisconsin; I’ve missed them!

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now, THIS…. this isn’t so different from what we know.

In Southwestern Wisconsin we have something similar to what we see here

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In glaciated Wisconsin there are a lot of ridges where the glaciers stopped and dropped their load of crushed rock and soil.  Adjacent to the ridges…. ta da!…. are corresponding valleys — not all that different from the ones we have here in Oregon — except of course for their origin.  These valleys are the spaces between seismic activity and mountain building instead of the scraping of ice.

All of that notwithstanding — it’s pretty kewl to be able to drive down the road on most days with the temps about 50 or more in the middle of February and see GREEN in most places where you look.

On the other side… there ARE those roads… That 13 mile trip to ADA turned out to be two separate destinations.  There is an Ada Grange. For those of you who aren’t into “farm stuff”  A “grange” in the late 1800’s was a social group of farmers/ranchers that sponsored social events, provided community service/s and got active with political lobbying.  I’m sure a ‘real’ farmer could tell you more about them, but the Ada Grange was such an entity and a building remains there.Ada Action Grange When you get to the Ada Grange you find there is a further destination ahead of you: Ada Station — which it turns out is no station at all — but there is a railroad track.  I doubt there has been a ‘station’ there in 50 years — maybe longer — but there is a County Park (Lane County) and a fishing resort.

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The last three miles to Ada Resort take you on a road (not roads) — a single lane, narrow, sometimes seeming to intrude on private property

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You just don’t find scenery like this everywhere you go. There may be other “kinds” of scenery that are just as beautiful in their own right — but this is special by anyone’s standards.

Getting there, however, is something else.  Those last three miles are an experience.  I have been on narrower roads (in Provence, in the mountains) but even the Forest Service roads are wider than this!  The photo showing the single lane road was already at the end of the three miles and this stretch is actually logging road.  Literally — as wide as a log truck,  in the middle of a recently logged section of forest with scrub fires still burning.  And the tiny resort at the end of the road qualifies as a fishing resort, in that there is certainly fish to be angled for but there aren’t many other features to be promoted.  We were out of cell range, there were no sight lines to the south for people wanting satellite and a lot of folks would call it the end of the world if they were looking for amenities.
But, if what you want if peace and quiet; if what you want it to commune with your own soul; if what you want is idyllic and a step back in time, then by all means head off to Ada Resort and check ’em out.

And in the mean time …. we’ll find some more places to explore!

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!

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Old Diary

Valley Crawling

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Fog over Tahkenitch Lake

Friday was a good day to make it a short day and get out into the Real World.
I was supposed to visit the two terminated hosts and pick up their Forest Service gear.  But considering that they will both be here through the weekend I figured it didn’t need doing right then.  So, I did a little filing, made a few phone calls chatted with Boss’ boss’ boss about our volunteer meeting on Wednesday.  He seemed particularly pleased with the way the meeting went and it’s nice to  have a happy boss.

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Waves at the mouth of the Umpqua River!

Peg had stayed home to do the laundry, but as it turned out after a restless night for her she took a nap in the morning and the laundry will get done another day.  So we hoped in the car to get out and see some more of the countryside seeing as the sun had come out and the temps were in the low 50’s.

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The Umpqua mouth often seems to be turbulent.

We’ve been looking for a road that would take us to Siltcoos lake.  Recently I saw a road named County Line road, so we thought we’d try that one out. (without having looked it up on Google.

So, a few miles down the road we turned onto the so identified road and after about 50 feet came screeching (well, not literally) to a halt.  It turns out that County Line road after the first bend to the right there is no road:  just a metal gate and what looks like a horse patch.  Ok.  What’d plan B?

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A view of Elbow Lake

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Another from Elbow Lake. One of the intriguing aspects of this lake is that the water is almost always dead still and beautifully reflective!

We decided to take a ride up Oregon 38 — it runs along the Umpqua River.  We found ourselves in a little fog — you just never know where that will happen.  It can be sunny one minute with little or no clouds in the sky and all of a sudden the sky is gone and there’s fog.

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Cows feeding in the valley — and one watching ME!

They (ODOT) are working on a tunnel down the road so it’s closed for four nights each week — Given the sparsity of roads I really wonder how locals plan for some of the road closings around here.  Oregon does have ODOT information venues but I did not notice that closing on any of them.  We weren’t inconvenienced but a vacationing traveler might very well have been.

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Such a lovely, lush, green valley! (and it’s only February)

Route 38 runs along the Umpqua River — a much larger river than the Siuslaw which empties into the ocean at Florence.  The Umpqua passes through Reedsport — about 1/4 mile from   the Dunes Area Visitor’s Center.

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A pano of the Umpqua Valley

About 4 miles East of Reedsport is an Elk viewing area — we’ve been there before and didn’t stop today.  But we continued along the valley just enjoying the rich farmland and the fog.   I’ve said it a few times already but I just don’t get tired of the fog here.  In Milwaukee when we got fog it always seemed to be SO foggy that you could barely get anything done.  Here there is much more frequent fog but it has thus far rarely been as dense.  The result is more eeriness, and more peekaboo trees, and glimpses into the unknown.
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Again we found the sheep to be as numerous as cows, or mores.  Once again — there aren’t a lot of sheep raised in Wisconsin and the change is nice to see:  little white critters grazing in a field instead of big bovines.  I don’t know — it’s just ‘nice.’

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Umpqua Reflections

We’ll get out some more as spring takes hold.  There aren’t many roads here but they surely do hug along edge of the valley slope, rarely abrupt walls.  Following the terrain as they do they often twist  and turn their way up in elevation.  With flat bottoms most of these valleys  seem ripe for spring flooding. We saw enough evidence of that today, the valley bottoms were soggy to be sure and most of the cows (there were some dairy and some beef farms) were being kept indoors for their safety and well being.  I’m thinking that cows may not be smart enough to stay out of the mud.

I liked that last shot a lot.  I took it on the way INTO work this morning.  The river was incredibly still.  After the last week and a half of almost constant rain the water had nearly returned to it’s normal blue aspect — rather than the rain muddied brown of recent days.  Another surprising thing to me has been that for all of the high winds that we get — the lakes and rivers often seem to be so calm — almost mirror smooth.

Ok — that’s it for today.  Thanks for stopping by, I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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