Big Bucks, a Strange Squirrel, the Fires, and the Oregon Coast… Update

The boys are now hanging out together. A situation that will change as their interest in the girls makes a quantum leap in the next couple of months. This buck’s antlers were still covered in velvet and growing when we left on our road trip in June. Now they are ready to do battle to win true love, or at least a quickie.

Since I am still working on my next post on the 1908 Great Race, I decided to throw in a quick update on life here on Oregon’s Upper Applegate River. First, fall has arrived. Leaves are beginning to turn and the white oaks have produced a bumper acorn crop— a fact that has the deer all but climbing the trees.

The big leaf maple trees growing down in our canyon are adding a splash of yellow.
The plump, white oak acorns here are delicious this year according to squirrels, deer, turkeys, woodpeckers and bears.
The deer start with the acorns that are easy to reach…
And then up they go, standing on their hind legs…
It’s quite a reach.
Meanwhile, the kids have been growing up. The spots are just about gone. This one is all legs.
The birdbath continues to serve as the local watering hole. It’s time to refill!
The bird feeder continues to attack the attention of various and assundry animals. It still hasn’t totally recovered from the time in June when the huge black bear used it for tether ball practice. BTW, we haven’t seen him since our neighbor threw firecrackers at him. He left us some scat, however. BIG scat. But what the heck is this animal? Is that a large mouth?
Turns out it was the hind foot on this fellow!
The forest fires continue to have a major impact on our area. The towns of Phoenix and Talent, which lost approximately 2500 home and businesses, were totally devastated and are still under evacuation orders. While our home was never under a direct threat, the air pollution has been some of the worst in the world. This is what it was like a week ago looking down toward the Applegate River in front of our property, a couple of hundred yards away. Rather than poison our lungs, we decided to escape to Florence on the Oregon coast.
The closer we got, the cleaner the air became. This is the Umqua River. My dad lived near here in the 70s. Rain clouds, not smoke! A welcome sight.
A creek along the way. Driving to and from the coast is almost as good as being there.
Even the elk seemed happy to be breathing clean air. This herd can almost always be found along Highway 38 near Reedsport.
Florence is one of our go-to places on the Oregon Coast. We like to stay at the Siuslaw Marina campground because it is an easy walk into its historic town. It was packed with RVs, a sign of the times. This is at the Marina where the Brandy was selling freshly caught tuna off the boat at $3.00 each. Fog was rolling in.
There are always seals to amuse us. This one was tracking through the water like an arrow shot from a bow. The old pilings from days gone-by add a touch of mystery.
Some of the pilings even came with character. Looks a bit like Wile-e-Coyote.
Possibly a giraffe with a furry tail.
Here the pilings provide foreground for Florence’s iconic bridge.
This one provides a convenient location for a cormorant to dry its wings. A sand dune provides the backdrop. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area starts just south of Florence.
Florence has a considerable amount of art for a small town. Most of it reflects local sea life, like this octopus…
This great blue heron…
And this seal.
Peggy and I were impressed with the fact that most people, and this pirate, were wearing Covid-19 masks. (iPhone photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
The Marina has an attractive walkway complete with lamps and hanging baskets leading into the town. After five days of breathing clean air, it was time to head home and see what the smoke and fires were doing.
I’m happy to report that the smoke had cleared out. Some. Compare this picture looking down on the cottonwoods growing along the Applegate River to the same photo above.
A final view of our big leaf maples turning a fall-ish color. Looking beyond the maple, you can still see the smoke hanging in our valley. We aren’t out of the woods yet, so to speak.

NEXT POST: We will rejoin the Great Automobile Race of 1908 as it makes its way to San Francisco.

The Beautiful Bridges of the Oregon Coast… Part Two

One of many bridges designed by Conde McCullough in the 1930s Yaquina Bay Bridge is located next to Newport on the Oregon Coast.

Gorgeous skies provide a dramatic backdrop for the Yaquina Bay Bridge near Newport, Oregon.

Last Monday I posted a story and photos on the Cape Creek Bridge designed by Conde McCullough. Today I am going to feature two more of his bridges: the Yaquina Bay Bridge near Newport, and the Siuslaw Bridge near Florence. I first became aware of these two beauties when I used to visit my dad who managed a hotel on the coast for my brother in the late 70s. Marshall later sold the place, an action for which I have never quite forgiven him. Neither have I forgiven my cousins who had the luck of growing up in Newport.

The property my brother owned and my dad managed. Writers, artists, and professors from the University of Oregon stayed there for $10 a night in the 70s. Now it is an expensive Bed and Breakfast.

Gull Haven: The property my brother co-owned and my dad managed. Writers, artists, and professors from the University of Oregon stayed there for $10 a night in the 70s. Now it is an expensive Bed and Breakfast.

I was driving across the Yaquina Bay Bridge on my trip down the coast last fall when I thought, damn, I have to get a photo of this (above). Being by myself meant I was designated photographer. You know all the warnings about driving and using your cell phone, or driving and texting— they should add driving and taking photos. Enough said. Once I got across the bridge I found a side road where I was able to get out of the car and take Highway Patrol approved photos.

Yaquina Bay Bridge near Newport, Oregon.

A side view of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The gull on the right added a little action.

The Yaquina Bay Bridge on the Oregon coast designed by Conde McCullough.

A close up of the spans with the historic Newport waterfront in the background.

I spent the night at a delightful campground next to the Florence Marina. This gave me the opportunity to walk over to the Siuslaw Bridge and spend time admiring it. The bridge was built under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Public Works Administration during the Great Depression. It was one of hundreds of projects across the nation designed to put Americans back to work. Both Peggy’s dad in Pennsylvania and my dad in Iowa benefited from this program. Some 140 men worked on the Siuslaw Bridge. It was opened March 31, 1936.

The bridge under construction. (Photo from display next to the bridge.)

The bridge under construction. (Photo from display next to the bridge.)

Ever the artist, McCullough incorporated Art Deco, Moderne, Gothic and Egyptian themes into his bridge.

Suislaw Bridge on the Oregon coast designed by Condi McCullough.

A view of the bridge as it looks today.

Siuslaw Bridge near Florence, Oregon.

A view of the bridge from the other side rendered in black and white., giving it the ‘old time’ feel.

Suislaw Bridge in Florence Oregon across the Suislaw River

I walked along the sidewalk going across the bridge to get this photo.

The walkway across the bridge.

The walkway across the bridge.

Structure on Siuslaw Bridge near Florence designed by Cond McCullough in the 1930s.

An art deco look? Or are we talking Egyptian here?

Siuslaw Bridge on the Oregon coast.

Having seen the bridge from both sides and on top, I decided to take a look underneath for my final view.