Summer, 2001
The Oregon Coast
After our visit to Redwood National Park we headed north along the Oregon Coast.

We stopped at the aquarium in Newport, Oregon.  This is the aquarium where Kako, a.k.a. the "Free Willie" movie whale, stayed prior to its return to the sea. 

No whales here now, but we did see this large shark in the tank. 

Though we'd never heard of "Oregon Coast Bears," the ranger at our campground told us that there was a bear in camp. Max and I wanted to see this for ourselves, so we waited in the truck just down the road from this dumpster late into the night  We had heard that the bear usually showed up around 11:00 pm.  About 1:00 in the morning we gave it up.  Max was already asleep by then.

Well, the next morning it was obvious that the bear had stopped by.  Maybe next time we'll see it. 

We had fun at the sand dunes near Florence, Oregon.  Here's Mitch, buckled in and ready to go.
Max was upset.  He's still too young to ride alone, so he and I were in a buggy together.  However, after being out on the dunes for awhile, he was glad he wasn't on his own.

He hadn't wanted to go on a professional dune tour with an experienced driver; he had insisted we rent our own buggies.  He soon found out that a trip with a professional driver is a fast, fun, thrill ride in the sand.  With me it was slow and cautious because I didn't know how to handle the dangers.

He could see the dangers and knew that I wasn't used to them, but then complained I was going too slow.  The rental shop had warned us that if we drove from north to south we wouldn't be able to see any shadows.  The winds create large drop-offs that become virtually invisible.  Driving in a northerly direction the drop-offs are easy to see and the hills went gradually downward.

I stopped at the top of a six foot drop and signaled for Mitch to pull up along side of us.  He thought that the signal meant to pass us and he flew by us over the drop-off -- bouncing radically but managing to keep the buggy from flipping over.

After that Max said, "Dad let me out!  Stop!  Let me out!"  After a little while he calmed down and we continued to enjoy the dunes.
The Oregon Dunes area is a beautiful but very unusual place.  The huge dunes build up along the coast, but there's a fairly wide strip of forested land in between the beach and the dunes.  It's very strange to finally get to the top of a dune and look down upon evergreen trees.  We saw this young elk grazing along the shoreline.  The sandy beach is just twenty paces through those trees.  I never thought of elk as beach animals.

Anyone remember these little cars from your childhood?  I had a neighbor that had one in their backyard and Cheryl's dad set one up for her when she was little.

Max found this one in Seaside, Oregon and just had to give it a spin.

Mitch, laying around on the beach at Seaside.
Our good friends, Tom and Annie, live on the beach near Seaside.  We enjoyed the 4th of July on the beach with them.  Tom, the boys and I collected 1,500 pounds of firewood for that nights bonfire. 
Here, Annie, Cheryl and her daughter, Bridget, relax on the beach.  Tom and Annie's house is just over the dunes in the background.
. . . and the kids do what kids do best.  Dig in the sand. 
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