Sunday, July 12, 2009

Coos Bay and the dunes area north

We enjoyed exploring the Coos Bay and Winchester Bay to the south. Coos Bay was once one of the largest lumber ports in the world and evidence of that background is easy to see. The city has now built a very nice boardwalk along part of the old port area with many interesting displays.

This retired tug boat, Koos 2, is such an example. Built in 1924, it was first used as a pleasure boat, but was then converted into a tug. It looked pretty small when compared to the large tugs of today.

North of Coos Bay is the Oregon Dunes area. We were really surprised that these dunes cover some 50 miles of the coast line and are up to 550' tall! They actually look like mountains that rise right from the sea.

We explored the area around Winchester Bay and found this huge dune where folks were riding ATV's on it -- it looked like a great ride! Apparently, as soon as there is some wind (and there is plenty of that), the sand moves and the dune looks like new. Some of the dunes move quite a bit each year as the wind pushes the sand around.

Cody was ready to go trail riding! There were hundreds of people riding in this large area, but it was so big, you only saw a few folks at a time. Some people camped right in the sand, but we decided to stay in the Elks RV park.

Winchester Bay is a very busy, but quaint port featuring all kinds of boats and small shops. While the bay was foggy, there was no rain, so we enjoyed walking around the bay area.

Rick stopped in a small store to get a cup of coffee and ran across this 1950's German coffee roaster in action. The beans were roasted for about 20 minutes, then fresh ground. That was some GREAT coffee!

Overlooking the bay, is the Umpqua River Lighthouse which is still in operation, but offers a great museum covering the lighthouse operations.

Here, Orinda is learning about the Fresnel Lens which give the lighthouse the ability to send light over 20 miles out to sea. These lenses and the lighthouse in general were really remarkable technology for the period.

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