Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Photo sailboats in Coos Bay, Oregon taken with a Sigma 35 Art lens.
Sailboats in Coos Bay, Oregon

Tugman State Park

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.

Winchester Bay

Sunset photo of sailboats on Winchester Bay, Oregon using a Lensbaby
Sailboats on the bay using a Lensbaby.

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

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.

Elk

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.

Coos Bay

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.

Millersylvania State Park, WA

rvrow
RV Sites

The girls and I went camping at Millersylvania State Park near Olympia, Washington last weekend.  It’s a beautiful campground that hasn’t lost its charm due to modern updating.  The campsites in the tenting area look like they’re in the original condition; although I’m sure there have been changes over the years.  The sites are heavily wooded and the roads narrow, so RVs can’t get into that section.  There is an RV loop in an open field that is not very desirable.  However, there are two rows for RVs that are under the trees. The campground was very peaceful, and our trailer was squeezed in between the trees in site 205.   All the sites in these two rows are pull-throughs, although I would be cautious about taking my 5th wheel through some of them.

Misty-Jade make breakfast burritos for us on Saturday.  Then we had the most delicious steak covered with smoked blue cheese and grilled veggies along with freshly squeezed strawberry lemonade for dinner.

I’m envious of the tenters who were able to camp in the loop pictured below.  The park also has some glamping tents in this loop available for rent.

campsites
Tent Sites

I discovered this trail early Saturday morning while the girls were still sleeping.  I loved the romantic bridge and boardwalk section of the trail.  The boardwalk would make a great background for a photo shoot.

While kayaking on Deep Lake we saw an eagle and a crane as well as a few other critters.  We were able to get up close to the crane, but unfortunately I only had an iPhone with me.  There were several people fishing off the dock near the boat launch.

We all loved the park and have put it on our list of go-to campgrounds when we need something at the last minute for a weekend get-away.

 

Ft. Stevens State Park, OR

Amber and I went to Ft. Stevens this past weekend with the intent of getting some more work done on the beach house before taking it to Iowa to visit Misty-Jade over  spring break.  My goal was to sanitize the water system and repack the storage area.  The water system got finished, but due to rain we didn’t get the storage areas done.  We took some time to explore the park a bit while the sun was out, thus the real reason for the storage areas not being repacked.  The last time we went to Ft. Stevens in July a couple years ago we got caught in a downpour and were sopping wet, so we thought spending time exploring while the sun was out was a better idea.

The shipwreck appears to have deteriorated over the years and gotten smaller.  Obviously that’s what happens, but I seem to remember it being much larger when I moved back to Oregon in 1985.

I didn’t know vehicles were allowed on the beach, but we had to try it out!  Tessa road in the back and loved it.

On one of our many trips to the store for supplies we were treated to this sight!  It reminded me of the moose that would come into our yard when we lived in Alaska.

Elk in Warrantor, OR
Elk in Warrenton, OR
Just too cute!
Just too cute!

We tried to go Kayaking at Coffenbury Lake, but just as we were setting up the rain started again.  We’re planning another trip here later this year and will bring the bikes as well as the kayaks.