Sunday, March 29, 2015

A drive to the coast

The quintessential post-card view of Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of Florence, Oregon. I've seen others that capture the vista better than this, but it's nothing short of breathtaking in person. Was the first time I saw it in 1996, still is now.

I had an unusually good night's sleep and woke up interested in doing something. A trip to the coast came to mind, but was initially discounted, although I couldn't let go of what a beautiful day it was over there. It came back with a vengeance, so off I went.

I wanted a beach rather badly, to walk upon, but at the two where I stopped I found parking fees of $4 and $5, and I wasn't willing to spend that for a short walk on a beach. I remember the days when all of Oregon's beaches were free access, but I guess those days are in the past. Oh, anybody can still walk on all 365 or so miles of it -- as long as you have a way to get there that doesn't involve parking a car. So, I satisfied myself with the views and what was supposed to be a good lunch.

Another view of Heceta Head, although from the same location. I can't decide which I like best, hence both are included.

Just below the viewpoint, these sea lions on the beach were making quite a lot of noise, At first I thought it was somebody's radio, then realized what it was. Sea Lion Caves is just south of this, and it appears that the nice day brought the residents out of that cave. More were swimming toward this beach.

A close-up view of Heceta Head. The lighthouse is barely visible through the trees toward the point. The caretaker's cottage is now a B&B, which I think would be really fun to visit. There was a path from this beach up to the lighthouse and I would have taken it if there wasn't a $5 parking fee. Yes, that irritates me, but I'll get over it.

Then, I headed in to Florence for lunch. This is one of my favorite places and I can never stop taking pictures because everything down here is just so photogenic. This is Old Town, and the bridge over Hwy 101 with a glimpse of the dunes on the other side.

The cherry blossoms were blooming and as you can see, the day was sunny and warm. Shirt sleeves even for me!

These spring-like clematis were enjoying the sunshine, too.

So -- about that lunch. Tomorrow I start my diet, so I thought a last 'blow out' would be fun, plus allow me to say I actually 'go off' certain foods in the coming days. As it turned out, the only thing I had that I have to 'go off' is alcohol, in the form of one beer. Not even chocolate! Chocolate is actually ok on the diet, but I digress.

I'd decided to go to Mo's, which is legendary on the central Oregon coast. I think I ate at one location back in 1996 when I first arrived, but hadn't done so since. I ordered fish tacos that sounded great on the menu. But, the breading on the cod was soggy and seemed stale, there was so much slaw in the tortilla that it was hard to fold it up to eat, and the entire thing was bland and tasteless. And for the price, not much cod. Grumble. Other than the view and the Rogue beer, it was a wasted $20. Sorry, Mo's, but I'd rather offend you than suggest that somebody else go there. Old Town has any number of other eating establishments, any one of which would likely have been a better choice. Win some, lose some.

It's odd, but I've had fish tacos on three occasions recently, two at fairly well-known places. Mo's, of course, is famous in these parts and theirs was the worst of the bunch. A few weeks ago I had some at a local place called Fisherman's Market, which while not quite famous, is certainly well-known around here and was recently featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This one was acceptable, but also on the bland side, somehow. The best came from a small brew-pub in the small town of Oakridge awhile back.

So -- that was my day. Still wish I'd found a beach to walk on, and had a better lunch, but all in all I'm glad I went, got my 'fix' on this beautiful, scenic area again. I should be good for awhile, until the pull for sand between my toes gets too strong and I go prepared to pay for parking.

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