Jun 072011

If there is one thing a fulltime RVer needs to pack before they hit the road, it’s flexibility. Because you never know when a breakdown, bad weather, or some other unexpected event can change your plans at the last minute. Yesterday was a good example.

We pulled out of our site at the Brookings Elks lodge about 10:30 a.m., expecting about a three hour run north to Florence, a distance of 150 miles. In contrast to the day before, when we had a beautiful drive up the coast, this day was gray and gloomy. But Miss Terry still managed to get some good pictures along the way, including this impressive sea stack, and this hole in the rock.

Large seastack

Hole in rock

There was a lot of road construction along the way that slowed us down. In some places, the road surface was sunken, in  others it was humped from repairs.

Highway 101 rough road 3

Highway 101 rough road hump

We had to stop in several places, where the road was down to one lane. We were glad we didn’t have all that far to go, because this wasn’t a day for making good time.

Highway 101 construction zone 3

Highway 101 construction zone 2

Fog was rolling  in over the beaches and covering the mountains as we drove north.

Fog over beach

Fog over Highway 101

North of Cape Blanco, the road moved inland from the beach, and we drove through thick forests.There was a heavy mist most of the way, and it rained off and on. So much for getting our Explorer washed a couple of days ago. 🙁

Coos Bay is a working town, and as we entered, we saw massive piles of logs in sorting yards.

Log yard

These logs, each with a white sorting tag on the end, are waiting to be loaded onto oceangoing ships.

Logs at Coos Bay port

You drive out of Coos Bay and right into North Bend. The Mill Casino there has a large RV park, as well as a dry camping area, and welcomes travelers to stop for a few nights. I like Coos Bay, and had newspaper interests here many years ago.

Mill casino RVs

The Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge spans the end of Coos Bay, and is cantilevered to allow ships to pass below.

North Bend bridge

Terry calls this my “pucker factor” look. I get it whenever I cross high, narrow bridges. I tell her I’m just concentrating really hard.

Nick concentration driving

You can’t drive very far in the Pacific Northwest without encountering logging trucks. Back when I owned newspapers up here, drivers of these big rigs had a reputation as aggressive hot dogs, and sharing the road with one of them could be a scary experience.

Log truck US 101

Log truck US 101 3

It was a day for bridges. We crossed this drawbridge in the rain outside of Reedsport.

Drawbridge in rain

And in Florence, the handsome Siuslaw River Bridge welcomes travelers to the charming little town.

Siuslaw River Bridge Florence

With all of the delays for road construction and weather, our planned three hour trip actually took over four hours. We had two weeks reserved at the South Jetty NACO campground in Florence, and since we had heard some reports on the place that concerned us, we arrived in town a day early, planning to stay at the Elks lodge overnight, and giving us a chance to check out the campground before we went in.

The Elks lodge has RV sites with 50 amp electric and water, on a large paved, level lot, for $15 a night. After paying for one night, we parked the Winnebago and drove to South Jetty to see what we were getting ourselves into. We were glad we did.

Winnie at Florence Elks lodge

The campground is heavily treed, and it was too dark and dreary for us. Most of the sites were narrow, and so closed in that it felt like a tomb. The majority of the RV sites are water and electric only, but there were several full hookup sites available. Most sites we saw were wet and muddy. I knew we probably wouldn’t be able to get a TV signal at the campground, and I could live with that, but we also could not pick up a cell phone signal, which would mean no internet connection on our Verizon air card. A large part of our business is conducted over the internet, and I post at least one blog entry a day, so that was a deal breaker.    

We decided that South Jetty doesn’t work for us.  It’s okay if you’re a camper and want a "camping" experience, but as fulltimers, it just didn’t fit our needs.We canceled our reservation, and now we go to Plan B. As soon as we figure out what Plan B is.

The Florence Elks lodge also has a beautiful RV park about 5 miles north of town, so we drove over to check it out. It has manicured sites with water and electric, two dump stations, bathhouses, and free WiFi. But again, absolutely no cell phone signal. Otherwise, we’d love to stay there.

Florence Elks lodge RV park

We have mail coming in a couple of days, so we’ll hang out here at the Elks lodge in town until then, and then we’ll see what happens. We have reservations at another Thousand Trails, near Tillamook, in two weeks. There are a couple of ROD campgrounds up near Newport that might work out for us in the meantime, and some Elks lodges between here and Tillamook, so we have options.

Hey, it’s all about flexibility, right?

Thought For The Day – Blessed are the flexible, for they will not get bent out of shape.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  6 Responses to “It’s all About Flexibility”

  1. I hate to see those logs all piled up and ready for loading to some offshore site where they will probably be fashioned into lumber, tables or some other high value item and then imported back into North America so we can pay for the added value. Both the US and Canada are guilty of shipping these jobs overseas and I can’t help but think we probably have some pretty good craftsmen here who could do that work.

    Enjoy the Oregon coast it is a favourite of mine.

  2. We like Coo.s Bay not just because it is a nice town, but Mike’s 94 yr young Aunt Mary lives there. She and her husband live not to far from the bay. We have stayed at Whalers Rest the ROD park just outside of Tillamook.,The park is nice but it has lots of trees, cell service was sketchy and TV was also. Your air card may work, this is the one and only time I tried to park Mike seven times trying to get our satellite to work. We never did get it, but the park has free WiFi. I have never tried to park him several times again, One shot and that is it.

  3. Nick, when you get to Whaler’s Rest, ask at the gate about a site for satellite. We have a MotoSat internet dish with bird on a wire (for Direct TV) and we were directed to a site that worked perfectly for our set up. We were skeptical when we saw the site, but after we parked we found out the guy at the gate knew what he was talking about and we were happy campers. Hope it works out for you.

  4. We know what you mean about the park being tight. We wriggled ourselves into a spot in the C section just to get cable. There was so little room we could barely walk around the rig but that was our fault. That’s a testament to Eldy’s driving skills! There were some bigger spaces. Our Verizon air card worked just fine there, AT & T cell phone was ok. I think it depends what part of the park you are in. We liked the forest atmosphere, but it IS dark and after three days of clouds off and on, we were ready to move on. There can be quite a bit of noise from the dune buggies and ATV’s just down the road on the dunes, too.

  5. South Jetty is one of my favorite TTN parks – but we only stay for 3-4 days. I’ve never had a problem getting satellite (might have to use my portable dish) and the Lodge has good wi-fi. Verizon cell service is acceptable, though. The Elks Park north of Florence is really a beautiful, well-maintained park. And very peaceful!

    Enjoy your Oregon stay!

  6. Nick, there’s a casino on the main road going east out to I-5 from Florence. Don’t know what kind of facilities they have, but you might check them out. And if you go all the way to I-5 there are several nice parks — an Escapees park, even.

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