Last weekend we went camping out at the coast with the goal of photographing waterfalls and autumn leaves. Since Amber is back in school we needed electrical hookups and wi-fi for homework assignments, so we stayed at an RV park. During the day we went hiking at Sweet Creek Falls and captured some wonderful fall photos.
Amber has been wanting to try the Instant Pot on a camping trip, but I hadn’t wanted to lug it out camping and back home after each trip. The RV’s crock pot broke a couple months ago, and I had been thinking about replacing it with an IP. When I found a larger IP on sale at Fred Meyer I purchased it, so now we have one for home and one for glamping!
Instant Pot Spaghetti
Saute in the Instant Pot
I like using the Instant Pot for soups, chili, dried beans, baked potatoes, and vegetables. Amber suggested making spaghetti, so we gave it a try. The recipe we used can be found at The Salty Marshmallow. The IP is wonderful for making one-pot meals, and we always freeze the leftovers for quick and easy lunches. The hamburger and onions are cooked using the saute mode, and then the dry spaghetti noodles, diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and water were layered on top of the meat. After locking the lid on the pot, the spaghetti cooked for 8 minutes.
Instant Pot with Lid
Dinner and a Movie
Spaghetti in the Instant Pot
The spaghetti was served with my favorite veggie, broccoli, and garlic bread. The spaghetti was okay, and it works for a camp meal, but it was a bit soupy. However, it did get thicker as it sat. Some of the noodles stuck together during cooking. I love my IP, but some things are still better cooked using a conventional method. This spaghetti may not be my favorite, but there is definitely a place for the Instant Pot in my beach house!
This year Amber and I decided to go camping at a park we had never been to for Memorial Day weekend and ultimately chose Tugman State Park. Reservations were made in January, but neither of us can remember why we chose this park, except that it has a lake and maybe we thought we would go kayaking there. I believed the campground was near the beach; it’s not. Driving is necessary if a beach outing is in the plans. In any case the park is very small and was quiet. It was easy backing the 5th wheel into our very spacious site. And as with all Oregon State parks, the campground is clean and well maintained. The only drawback is the proximity to highway 101. However, it wasn’t too bad as most of the time we blocked out the noise.
We had a wonderful weekend exploring Coos Bay and the surrounding areas in more depth than we have in the past when we only had time to make short stops on our way to other destinations.
Thursday I decided to use only the Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Sweet 35 optic. I’ve had the lens for a few years, but was frustrated with it so never used it much. I watched a couple videos before going camping and decided it was time to figure it out. Actually I came away with some great images. I took photos at Shore Acres State Park and Sunset Beach as well as the one above of the sailboats at Winchester Bay. Next time I get to take sailboat photos I’ll try a smaller aperture.
Sea Lions at Simpson Reef on the Oregon Coast
Sea Lions at Simpson Reef on the Oregon Coast.
Sea Lions at Simpson Reef on the Oregon Coast
I visited Simpson Reef on Friday, but the weather was overcast and the sea lions weren’t visible. Amber and I went back the next day and were able to observe hundreds or thousands of them. They are a ways back, so binoculars are needed. Last summer before visiting the Tetons I bought Zeiss Terra ED 10 x 42 binoculars at Cabela’s. Those were greatly appreciated many times and were perfect for watching the sea lions as well. While in the Tetons I realized I didn’t have the right lens to get photos of the wildlife, and I was drooling over the lenses I saw other visitors using. One very nice gentleman from England let me hold and try out his long lens. When I arrived home I did some research and found some affordable consumer zoom lenses. It didn’t take me long to purchase the Sigma 150-600mm lens! The lens is perfect for catching sea lions! I believe Nikon, Canon and Tamron also make this or a similar lens.
As I was zooming in to edit the third photo I noticed one of the sea lions was branded with a number. So I did some research and found that some animals are being branded to be studied and eventually to prevent some of them from consuming the salmon that are swimming upstream. You can read more about this at OPB and at The Spokesman Review.
Dean Creek Sign
Hinsdale Interpretive Center Sign
Closeup of Elk Facial Profile
Elk Interpretive Sign
Elk at the Dean Creek Viewing Area
Lush Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area
When I went to pick up Amber on Friday afternoon hundreds of elk were grazing at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area! Another opportunity to practice using my 150-600mm lens! The elk were just gorgeous in the setting sun. The Hinsdale Interpretive Center is also located at the viewing area and provides several educational plaques about the elk and other wildlife in the area.
Fishermen’s Seafood Market in Coos Bay
Fish & Chips Lunch on the Coos Bay Boardwalk
The Koos No 2 Tugboat in Coos Bay
Koos No 2 Sign
Sailboats in Coos Bay, Oregon
Amber and I spent a morning exploring Coos Bay. While there we shopped in antique stores looking for items that could be used in a cupcakes and cookies photo shoot we want to do with the children at Little Pandas Playschool. We found a cute hand cranked beater for mixing whipped cream and cake batters. I’m pretty sure my grandmother owned these when I was growing up. Then one of the stores was selling the same desk used at my first elementary school. I had to keep reminding Amber that if the store was selling something I’ve used in my lifetime, it’s not an antique! It might be vintage, but certainly not antique.
We ate butter clams and fish for lunch, from the Fisherman’s Seafood Market, on the boardwalk. I highly recommend stopping in for a meal. After lunch we explored the tugboat display on the boardwalk and took pictures of the sailboats captured with my favorite lens; the Sigma 35 Art.
Over the weekend Amber and I also visited Shore Acres State Park, Sunset Beach, the Umpqua Lighthouse and the beach near Heceta Head Lighthouse. However, those images will have to wait for another post.