“It’s really quite a boring town”

 

Not my words, I hasten to add, but spoken by a resident of Eugene this evening.

 

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The day began in Newport as we took the road south along the last stretch of coastline for us.  The character changed from sandy bays to rocky beaches, full of tidepools begging to be explored.  We set off in more drizzly rain, even though it was supposed to be sunny today.  When we commented on this to the woman at the petrol station, we were reminded that it was “still a bit early, give it time!”  That was around 10am.

 

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Stopping from time to time to take photos and look out over the beach into the haze, we made our way south.  At one pull in, we saw a family peering over the cliff edge at some sea lions basking on the rocks below, many with pups.

 

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Looking north, we felt sorry that the gloom meant that there wasn’t much of a view of the coastline.

 

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Here’s the same view five minutes later – oh, there’s a lighthouse down there!

 

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Another five minutes and there’s not only a lighthouse but a small cottage set on a ledge there.  Dare I also point out the blue sky too?

 

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This is how we found this coast to be – changing all the time.  We could have stood watching the weather for hours.

 

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Ten minutes later, I’m standing inside a quilt shop, chatting!  We’d arrived in Florence, our last coastal stop and where we’d read of spectacular sand dunes (thanks Jane!!)

 

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Mary’s Golden Pass came to the fore again, allowing us free entry to this wild part of the coastline, managed by the National Parks.  The dunes stretch for 41 miles down the coast but we would see only one small corner, just outside Florence.

 

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The boys were out with their toys this morning, zooming up and down this huge dune in their buggies.

 

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There appeared to be pretty, scenic drives to be enjoyed on these 4WD buggies, but unsurprisingly, it was the huge dune which was the main scene of the action.

 

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Far too sensible to want to have a go ourselves, it was time to go.  Turning right in Florence, towards Eugene, where we were to spend a couple of nights.

 

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We didn’t know much about Eugene, it just happened to be a good turning point and we thought that, as a university town, there would be plenty of things going on.  Having registered our arrival at the hotel, we set out to explore downtown.  Except we couldn’t identify where that might be.

 

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We found a great kitchen shop and a well-stocked embroidery shop which had more needlepoint canvases, cross stitch kits and different embroidery threads than I’ve seen in a long, long time.  But this was all very small…where was the main street?

 

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We were amused by the window display giving a poke to Portlandia’s “Put a bird on it” skit.  Butterflies the next thing, eh?

 

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After an hour’s mooching, we headed for the Electric Station for something to eat.  As we left, we heard an unmistakeable sound and headed towards the railroad which was adjacent to the car park.

 

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The Coast Starlight Express was there, boarding the final passengers for the l-o-n-g journey south to Los Angeles.  It had left Vancouver, Canada at 5.30am this morning and left Eugene one hour late at 6.10pm.  It’ll arrive in Los Angeles tomorrow evening at 9.00pm.  Yes, there are sleeper cars on there but I’m not sure that I seriously wanted to travel that way, however romantic it seemed at the time!

So, sorry, Eugene, we don’t seem to have got your measure.  We’ve tried really hard, have picked up and perused every leaflet we could find, asked locals for advice and finally, returned to the hotel to watch the first two programmes of American Masterchef.

Travelling doesn’t get tougher than this!!

Water, mountains and forests

A Lewis and Clark day