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Florence Food Share

September 7, 2013

Oregon – Tuesday, August 27

It was very foggy out this morning, and I could hear a fog horn in the distance. I did some computer work and took my time packing up while I waited for the fog to lift. Then I went back to the waterfront in Newport – I wanted to walk through the old town in daylight. The fish processing places were busy – the workers wear rubber overalls, knee high rubber boots and big rubber gloves. They must just get used to the smell! There were a couple dumpsters of fish carcasses in one area, and lots of shrimp were being hosed down a big conveyor belt into the back of what appeared to be a dump truck lined with a huge garbage bag. The sea lions were being very vocal – I’m thinking there’s a reason they like to hang out near the fish processing factory! The boardwalk had signs identifying the different fishing boats – whether they’re used for shrimp, or bottom-feeders, or tuna, or salmon, and other things under the sea, but they all kind of look the same to me. Tula hadn’t seen the sea lions last night, and was quite intrigued with them this morning! She and I walked about a mile and a half around town, and then I wanted to walk across the big beautiful bridge over the harbor. I had seen bicyclists and other pedestrians heading up there, so I figured there must be a sidewalk. And that was a very long, enjoyable walk. It was fun to look at the harbor from the vantage point high on the bridge, and the other side had the view of the channel leading from the ocean into the harbor, with both fishing boats and pleasure craft heading back and forth. I even saw another sea lion swimming in to the harbor – a little late to the party, but it was fun to watch him swim in. Newport is also a big Coast Guard base. The height of this bridge didn’t bother me – it was an old historic one, and seemed very substantial. I also watched a fishing boat come in from sea and saw it pass literally right under my feet. My bridge walk covered nearly 2 1/2 more miles. By this time I was ready for some lunch, and after seeing all the fishing boats, I figured fish and chips would be an appropriate meal to grab on the go before I left town. I stopped by one of the crowded little fish and chip shops and chose the rockfish. It was in a very light batter and was very tasty.

I drove south along the coast, stopping now and then to admire the views, and to walk along the beach. There are big boulders all over the place – on the sand, in shallow water and out in deeper water. It’s like some giant picked up a handful of “stones” and just flung them all around. I had passed a turn-off which was so full of cars that I couldn’t fit in, and I wondered if people had seen something out in the ocean. I stopped at the next place, which happened to be a state park area, and one of the rangers was standing on a little deck, and all of a sudden she pointed out a whale to me and about 4 other people. I’ve never seen a whale from shore, and it didn’t even look like it was all that far out in the water. It surfaced 5-6 times while we were watching – we would see the waterspout first, and then it’s back as it went under again – it was a humpback whale. The ranger was excited to see it, and went down to the next level of the deck to tell the people down there about it too. An older couple was watching the whale with me, and the man said he’s been stopping by this area for years just for the other pretty views, and he’s never seen a whale there before – they were pretty excited about it too. It is pretty amazing to see a whale from the shore! It doesn’t seem like it would be deep enough, but clearly it is!

I continued south to Florence, where I was going to make my donation-of-the-day to the Florence Food Share program. They’ve been helping to feed the hungry people in the area since about 1980, when the pantry was started by people from different churches working together out of garages and was originally called Manna Ministries. With the help of grants and volunteers and donations, they built their own permanent building in 1994, and they’ve been operating out of that building ever since. So, like many food pantries and soup kitchens, it had very humble beginnings, but with community support and lots of volunteers, bigger things can happen! Florence Food Share is open every morning, and also a couple afternoons during the week. Tuesday afternoons are not one of those days, so no one was around. But I saw the building and one of their trucks, and then just had to mail in my donation.

Then I needed to scurry down to Coos Bay – with my birthday coming up, my van registration was about to expire, and although I could renew the registration online, they wouldn’t have an address to mail the new license plate sticker to. So I had worked it out with my neighbor who deals with my mail to pay for the registration (which I reimbursed her for of course), and then she had my new sticker for the license plate, and since she works for State Farm, I tried to plan ahead to a town I would be passing through, so I contacted the State Farm people in Coos Bay and explained my predicament, and they would be happy to get my piece of mail from the Chelsea State Farm office, and everything worked out just fine! Whew! I made it to the Coos Bay office before they closed, and they had my sticker and new registration card, and it won’t be this complicated again next year!

Then Tula and I did some walking on the Coos Bay boardwalk, which turned into a bike trail at one end that went by some old train cars and industrial area. Despite the old train cars, I didn’t really like walking in that area, so I returned to the boardwalk, and then we drove to the north end of town, where there was another boardwalk and another historic old bridge to walk across. (Tula doesn’t come with me on the bridge walks.) Coos Bay is one of the world’s busiest ports for shipping lumber and wood chips and other wood products. There were a couple mountains of wood chips and stacks and stacks of lumber down by one of the harbors. A ship from Hong Kong was in port, getting a load of lumber. And I saw stevedore offices – it’s a whole different world down by the harbor. I did look up the definition of stevedore – I knew it had something to do with waterfronts, and stevedores are dockworkers and longshoremen – workers to load and unload ships. But there weren’t many people around during that time of day. I walked about 2 1/2 miles in Coos Bay.

I headed just a bit more south to Bandon, another waterfront town and finished off my last mile and a half of walking. A tuna boat had just come in, and people were bringing coolers by the docks to get fresh fish – it doesn’t get any fresher than buying it right off the boat! The fishermen seem to hang out signs on their boats saying what their current catch is, and the locals must know when to come down to the dock.

The sun had gone down while I was in Bandon, and just a little south of town, I came to a nice little KOA campground that had an available campsite, so I stopped there for the night. It had been a very full day! There’s only about 50 miles left of driving along the Oregon coast before crossing into California, so my time in Oregon is nearly done. I walked all 56 miles, and made all 7 donations – Trail Tenders (Oregon Trail) and the Salvation Army School Drive in Baker City, Doggie Dash in La Grande, the wildfire base camp and Oregon Veteran’s Home in The Dalles, The Lavender Girls with Children’s Cancer Association near Portland, and Florence Food Share in Florence. I’m happy to have a few more miles to poke along the Oregon coast some more tomorrow morning!

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One Comment
  1. Aunt Phyl permalink

    Well, now you’re another year older – and much wiser!. Happy belated birthday – and many more. We trust you found a cake somewhere and were able to blow out all the candles! We’ve so enjoyed following your travels. You’ve certainly made a lot of special memories and been a blessing to many on your journeys. September 14 we plan to go to Burt Lake for a week – our travels have been mostly Michigan (one of the best kept secrets in the world). 🙂 Love & safe travels, Aunt Phyl

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