Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 35 & 36 - Manzanita, OR to Gold Beach, OR

We got up early and packed up and headed south.  We did laundry while Greg worked with an ocean view in a cute little oceanside town.  We stopped at Tillamook Cheese Factory while Greg went and did some printing for a client.  The kids and I had a great lunch (grilled cheese and tomato soup -- yum!) and we got milkshakes just as Greg got back so he scored one, too.

We cruised down the coast, stopping whenever we saw an open fish market that advertised smoked salmon!  Eventually, we made our way down to our favorite wild animal park in Bandon, OR.  If you are in the area, you have to come visit.  West Coast Game Park Safari is wonderful.  It is a walk through animal park with many animals that you can feed, pet, and play with.  They have baby wild cats that you can, in small groups, interact with up close and personal.  This year, they had a baby cougar and a baby bobcat.  So wonderful.  We also got to pet a baby brown bear and the usual suspects . . . white ferrets, blond skunks, raccoons, and baby opossums.  They are all impossibly cute and well worth a visit.

We started looking for a camping spot but didn't find anything that jumped out of us until we got near Gold Beach.  We were thinking about stopping there anyway because we'd heard such good things about the Rogue River Jet Boats.  We called ahead to Four Seasons and they promised to save us a spot.  They had a great spot on the water but were a little worried that we'd get our coach into it.  We weren't worried.  The FMC is highly maneuverable and we were motivated!  The managers could not have been nicer.  They got us settled in the site, booked us our tickets on Jerry's Jet Boats, and we settled in to eat some amazing salmon and cheese and other goodies we'd bought on our way down the coast.

There were several other old coaches in the park and we walked around and got a tour of the other coaches and several campers stopped by to tour ours as well.  It was such a friendly park.

The site was magnificent.  We were right on the water, overlooking the river.  We were a few steps from the boat ramp where we could walk down and stick our feet in the water and we could sit in front of the rig and enjoy the view of jet boats and fisherman cruising by on the water.  We decided pretty quickly to spend another night there.

In the morning, we got up early and headed into Gold Beach to get on our boat.  We'd planned to do the short run up the river (64 miles) but it was already full.  They decided to offer a shorter run that day and we had tickets for that.  We didn't go all the way up to Agness for lunch but turned around early and headed back.  This might have made for a boring drive but our driver made up for the lack of rapids and wild water but making his own rapids and getting us thoroughly wet and spun around.  It was SO much fun!  He also spotted lots of wild life along the river -- mostly otters and osprey but we got up close and personal with them which was really special!

We were exhausted after the ride and stopped to get lunch at a little mexican joint in Gold Beach.  The owners turned out to be from Seaside, CA before moving up to Gold Beach just a year earlier.  Small world.

We headed back to our riverside site and enjoyed our last night in Oregon.

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