Newport, Oregon: Last night we switched from a blanket on the bed to the duvet and used the ceramic floor heaters for the first time in ages. It was cold! Still, we both exercised this morning before we hit the road to the coast - a pretty two-hour drive through Corvallis along Highway 34. There wasn't a cloud in the sky at the beach, just beautiful, but dang is it windy in Newport.
We are overnighting at the Newport Marina RV Park (our favorite place to camp here). Our site was to be a dry-camping spot in the next-door parking lot, but by the time we arrived they had a cancellation so we scored a long drive-through campsite. Just for tonight though. Tomorrow they are kicking us out, and we are moving up the road. After pushing a few buttons ("setting-up" camp), we donned these things called "jackets" and went to see if the sea lions were still squatters on a boat dock on the old waterfront. They were - and there were more sea lions than we had ever previously seen:
They are a noisy stinky wondrous bunch!
If you are curious about the "cage" seen on the dock, it was built to capture an injured sea lion, usually entangled in some-sort of rope or netting (description of the process and gross photo here). The animals are familiar with the dock and cage, and come and go without fear. But if an injured sea lion goes inside the cage, the door can be closed to trap the creature. Marine veterinarians anesthetize the injured/sick sea lion, remove the netting, and treat it with salve/antibiotics on site. Clever scientists!
We felt fairly safe on our mission today. Not too many people around, and most everyone was wearing a mask - and it was really windy.
NOTE TO PEOPLE FAMILIAR WITH NEWPORT: The Undersea Garden attraction on the Newport waterfront is completely GONE! It is now just a huge cement slab, obviously built to hold an above-ground business. It may (rumor) become an ice house to service the local fish industry, but I can't tell you for sure. (Will ask around though.) I can just tell you - it is no longer there. (The fish in the below-surface-level aquarium were taken by the Oregon Coast Aquarium, sent somewhere else, or released into the wild.) Flashback to my childhood: when this submerged aquarium opened, our family made a day-trip to Newport from Salem to visit. Still remember it to this day - maybe 50 years ago?
Also different on the Newport waterfront are a few new (to us) pieces of statues/art in front of the Ripley's Believe It or Not! (museum?) World of Adventure + Wax Museum + Tourist Trap + Gift Shop. The statues are made from old car tires. Very cool-looking gorilla though. BTW: Ripley's owned the Undersea Garden, but it was needing too many expensive repairs, so they shut it down.
One last view of the docks as we walked back to our car. We may return in a few days to buy some fish off a boat or from a shop in town.
Since I thought we would be dry-camping tonight (next-door to the Rogue Brew Pub), I planned a take-out meal for our supper this evening. This menu plan did not change when our camping situation did. I called to place the order, and DT went next door to fetch two orders of the best halibut fish & chips on the Oregon coast. We have this meal every time we are in Newport and it never disappoints.
Halibut fish & chips are now $19... and as usual, we over-ordered. Lunch tomorrow!
Until my next update - from a different campground - I remain "our floor heaters are on" correspondent.
RV PARK: Newport Marina RV Park - We had reserved a dry-camping site (because that is all they had), but they had a cancellation this morning so we lucked-out to get a full-service pull-through. Dave had already paid $32 for the dry-camping site, and they charged us another $32 to bump-up for a full-service site. The Marina campground has all the usual amenities, with the addition of fish-cleaning stations and barking sea lions as background noise.
(NOTE: Dang, camping is really getting expensive. I remember the first time we paid $35 for a campsite and screamed highway robbery. Remember the days when you never needed reservations unless it was Memorial Day weekend, or 4th of July, etc? We used to roam America and rarely ever have an itinerary or reservation. Are the carefree camping days gone? What do you think? Please comment below.)