Flatter than a Pancake – Day 90

Flatter than a Pancake

Day 90 – June 29, 2003 – Sunday

I didn’t sleep too well last night. That’s often the way it is for me when I HAVE to be somewhere early the next morning. I woke up several times to check the clock as I didn’t want to be late for my 8:30 am meeting at the Fire Department. I was really excited about getting to see the famous Oregon Dunes in a dune buggy with the Fire Department Rescue Team!

I raced out the door a little after 8. Down the stairs to the car — Jeb’s map and directions in hand. Camera charged and ready. I was flying high!

As I reached the Cruiser, the wind was immediately taken out of my sails. The left rear tire was almost flat. I sat down in the driver’s seat, and it was completely FLAT! I knew instantly that I would never get a special tour of the dunes. The spare for the Cruiser is a little donut tire, and I suspected getting a tire repaired on a Sunday morning in Coos Bay could be a challenge. Jeb had given me everything but a phone number, so I couldn’t even call to see if a later time might work. Very disappointing.

I called Chrysler’s Roadside Assistance Service — hoping someone would come to repair the tire. Bill came, and he put the donut tire on, but his company just did towing and tire-changing. He told me the only place open on Sunday was Wal-Mart.

The guys at Wal-Mart took good care of me. I had a shiny nail in the tire near the edge, so I decided a new tire was by far the safest way to go. The new tire was on at 10:15, and I felt fortunate that the flat had been in a decent-sized town like Coos Bay rather than in one of the many tiny towns that we visit.

I met Christine and Barb while waiting for Bill. I met Barney while Charlie, Jeff, and Jerry repaired his tire at WalMart.

I backtracked to Bandon. Old Town Bandon is very nice. I had an excellent lunch of Fish and Chips at the Bandon Fish Market, followed by unique and very tasty Cheddar Cheese Fudge at Cranberry Sweets. I met two nice couples from Grants Pass, Oregon at lunch; they were both celebrating their anniversaries.

Bill told me I needed to eat at The Pancake Mill in Coos Bay, so I stopped in for a piece of pie when I drove back through. Vickey sold me on her grandmother’s special cake.

I saw the Steve Prefontaine Memorial in Coos Bay, a number of timber mills, the Mill Casino, and the Coos Bay Boardwalk. I saw where a lumberjack competition is held.

It was Lighthouse Day! I drove out to see the Coquille River Lighthouse. I also saw the Umpqua River Lighthouse, the Heceta Head Lighthouse, the old Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

I saw more stunning scenery along the Oregon coastline and many great bridges. Cape Perpetua was especially interesting to see.

The signs in Oregon are small on roadside attractions are. You have to really look closely.

This section of the Oregon coast contains some of the largest oceanfront dunes in the world, ranging up to 500 feet high and forming banks up to three miles deep. I lost the opportunity to see the dunes in a dune buggy with the rescue team, but I was still determined to see some dunes.

I stopped at the Oregon Dunes Interpretive Center in Reedsport. I was advised to backtrack to get to the best spot to take a photo of the really big dunes. I met Dave and Vicky. Dave used to drive a big truck so they saw the country on the interstates. Marion, Nenana, Barb, and Terri helped me at the Interpretive Center. They were very nice ladies, and they asked about the beads, so they heard the whole story about the Floating Neutrinos and a few others. They seemed to really enjoy it, so I enjoyed telling them. Barb said she saw the country hitchhiking and told me to be sure and stop in Gardiner the next town up where there’s only one business still open called the Fox Hole.

As directed, I went back to the Umpqua Dunes Trailhead. The wind was blowing really strong by the time I got to the dunes, so it was a short stop. Shades of Big Bend. I was afraid I would get my eyes hurt again, so I didn’t spend much time. I walked a ways and got a few photos of the big dunes, then back to the safety of the car.

I went to Gardiner with my eyes wide open because Barb sent me. I took photos of several of the closed businesses and the one remaining business in Gardiner. It was a sad-looking place. One business had a pink fluorescent sign that simply said: “We Quit.”

I didn’t see any snow cone stands in this part of the country, but I did see many little drive-through espresso shops, even in the smallest of towns. Except Gardiner.

I gassed up in Florence. It was full-service so I tipped the young man a dollar. I also gave a dollar to a guy who didn’t have enough money to buy cigarettes. He really appreciated it. I did many random acts of kindness on the trip, and I received many random acts of kindness. When we do Round America II, I believe I will add a #11 to the Rules of the Road: Remember to practice random acts of kindness. With it as a written goal, we will be more conscious of it.

A sign in Florence indicated that the Sand Master Park was the world’s first sandboarding park. I stopped to take a look. Snowboarding on sand. 40 acres of private sculpted dunes, “rail slides, and fun boxes.” It actually looked like a lot of fun.

I saw carnivorous cobra lilies — from a distance — in Heceta Beach. The Cobra Lily lures its insect prey with a sweet smell which is inside the leaf opening. Once inside, the insect becomes confused by the many areas that look like exits, and the Cobra Lily gobbles it up. I stopped at the Darlingtonia Wayside to see the carnivorous cobra lilies, but I didn’t actually see them. I just took a photo in the general direction of the cobra lilies because there was a rough-looking character who looked to me like he was pretending to work on a parked car in the very corner of the darkest spot of the parking area right where I needed to walk to go to the observation area. He looked shifty to me, and I didn’t want to risk going near him as there were no other cars there. I think the plant that went wild in the movie “Little Shop of Horrors” must have been a carnivorous cobra lily.

I visited the Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park. The Devil?s Punch Bowl is a very interesting spot where the ocean creates a swirling effect. The ocean has carved out a bowl in the rocks with an opening that waves crash through.

I stopped briefly in Depoe Bay, but it was raining and foggy. This is a whale-watching area, and it has the world’s smallest navigable harbor according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

I checked into the Landmark Inn in Lincoln City. The young lady at the front desk said that the “D” River is the world’s shortest river, so I planned to see it. She gave me directions for Dorey Cove, which is known for its pie. I headed to Dorey Cove for dinner and pie. I saw the “D” River along the way. It flows 120 feet from Devils Lake under U.S. Highway 101 and into the Pacific Ocean, entirely within the city limits of Lincoln City.

I drove a half hour or so to get to the Dorey Cove Restaurant to find that it had closed 11 minutes before I got there.

I drove by the Chinook Winds Casino on the way back toward the hotel. The promotional material for the casino says: “Owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon, the spirit of the Tribe is captured in the decor of the facility. The Casino includes a waterfall flowing to a pond (designed to resemble Euchre Creek, an important area to the Siletz tribe) where “wishers” can toss their coins for good luck and make a contribution to the Tribe’s educational fund. The round lobby and weave design painted on the exterior give tribute to the tribe’s traditional basket weaving techniques. Salmon decorate many of the interior and exterior areas, a nod to the fish that plays a special and important role in the history of the tribe.”

I took a picture of the American Veterans in Desert War Memorial at the Casino. I did not go in to place my patented $100 bet on red because it was almost 9 pm, and I hadn’t eaten.

Lincoln City is a very long town. I don’t know if the casino is the reason they have so many motels and other businesses, but something was going on in Lincoln City. Compared to most of these coastal towns, this was a good-sized one.

I had dinner at Lee’s Chinese Restaurant. It was good. The Chinese food was a little different from what I was accustomed to. Kelly was the waitress. She was excellent with a really nice smile and personality. Lee’s had no pie, but I had a fortune cookie for dessert.

Linda, the desk clerk, was helpful with directions to the covered bridge that I plan to see tomorrow. She had also provided directions to the casino, Dorey Pie Shack, and the shortest river.

I was reminded today that there’s nothing like a flat tire to take the wind out of your sails. I learned that if you have a flat tire on a Sunday morning, do it in a town big enough to have a Wal-Mart.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
Bandon Oregon — Coos Bay Oregon — Oregon Dunes Interpretive Center — Sand Master Park — Darlingtonia Wayside — Devils Punch Bowl State Park — Depoe Bay Oregon — Lincoln City Oregon