Thursday, June 28, 2007


I have a funny memory from my childhood: I was eating a meal with my family at a restaurant and saw a woman sitting alone at the counter eating a piece of pie. I was around 8 or 10 years old, and I remember thinking how much fun it would be when I was grownup and could eat dessert anytime I wanted to, even eating it instead of dinner.

Well, I was right - it is great to be grownup and able to eat a huge ice cream cone an hour before your usual dinner time and no one thinks it might not be a good idea! Here we are (Bev Brown, Odel King, and William Brown) at the ice cream parlor in Bandon, Oregon, with homemade cones filled with local Umpqua ice cream. Fine, very fine.

Unlike today - which is very wet and rather stormy - the weather on Tuesday and Wednesday was perfect for our thorough exploration of the area surrounding Coos Bay on our sightseeing adventures with my (Laurie's) parents (aka Mommy and Daddy) and Aunt Dorothy (aka AD).

Our first day was spent exploring Sunset Bay State Park and Shore Acres, the extensive gardens of what was once a grand mansion on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific. It is a beautiful stretch of the Oregon coastline, just a mile or two from our site at Oceanside RV Park, where we headed for an early dinner: grilled salmon, quinoa pilaf, green beans, an Oregon Pinot Gris... with a dessert of berry torte (berries from the Eugene farmer's market) and vanilla ice cream. Hard to say what I like best, the sightseeing or the meal?? Both were great.

One of the fun aspects of having "guests" is that we see things we might otherwise have skipped. Such was the case with the Umpqua Discovery Center. When I was researching "things to do" in the Reedsport area, I saw the Discovery Center mentioned a few times and we decided to seek it out.

The Center is hidden along a back road on the bank of the Umpqua River. Our group of 5 adults looked the place over rather cynically, standing in a tourist-oriented gift shop discussing whether the exhibits would be worth the $7/$8 admission fee. We finally decided to chance it (thank you, AD!), paid, and headed into the first exhibit.

What fun! Their website says "The exhibit is an adventure for the young and the young at heart" and it is a good description. We followed a "path" through an exhibit that made great use of beautifully designed and painted murals, a variety of walking surfaces (wooden boardwalks for the "ocean" related exhibits, a textured, slightly spring-y surface for the forest exhibits), and fantastic "animatronics", the sounds of the environment we moved through: bird calls, waves, children on the school playground, creaking masts, a growling mountain lion... it was great fun, interesting, educational -in short, something I would visit again and recommend to other travelers. Yes, it is worth the price of admission and, if you travel with children, they will be captivated.

So, we have packed two days with visits to lighthouses, a viewing of Roosevelt Elk, campground tours (Odel and I have a difficult time passing up campgrounds), lots of viewpoints. We finally gave up when Daddy said he wasn't getting out of the car again until it was to go into his motel room. A good visit!

1 comment:

  1. 'Bout time we got a report! Sounds (and looks like you are having a great time. The weather is lovely in So. Cal, and we are having a good time with Diane and Marie. We head home tomorrow, and Ron reports that we have had a good monsoon downpour in Bisbee - Yay!