Thursday, May 28, 2015

Life as a Lifeboat Museum Host

Port Orford Lifeboat Museum

We are starting our final week at the Port Orford Lifeboat Museum and have fallen into a routine, but one quite different from when we are home.  The spouse is fishing, or talking fishing, or fiddling with his fishing stuff every day.  He has finally cracked the code for catching surf perch and will show anyone who expresses any interest the pictures of his dead fish on his iPhone   We "work" four days a week, Thursday through Sunday.  I've been at the museum today for four hours and we've had four visitors...and made $3.00 in donations and $5.00 in dogtag sales.  I've caught up on email and Facebook since we don't have wifi at our campsite.  The "job" gives us plenty of time to feed our cyber addiction.

We took a road trip to California to see the redwoods on our time off.  They are beautiful, as is the scenery along the coastline, but the best part of the trip was staying one night in a hotel and taking a shower in a full sized shower.  I could actually raised my arms above my head to wash my hair without having to tuck in my elbows.  We're getting along fine in our 5th wheel trailer; it seems spacious after our motorhome, but I do miss having a bathroom I can turn around in.

Last weekend Indians gathered at the park where we are camped to bless the site and launch new cedar canoes.  They have a salmon feed every year at the park that was once a Native American campsite.  They drummed and chanted around a fire.  I was reminded again that I had stepped out of my routine. 

This volunteer assignment is like putting our life on hold.  All our regular chores and responsibilities are set aside.  We have no routine to follow.  We didn't forward our mail.  Most of our bills are paid automatically...and those that aren't will just have to wait until we get home.  We're in suspended animation.  We're forced to shop and eat in new places.  There is nothing familiar here.  On our trip to California we stopped at Taco Bell for lunch...I hate to admit that I felt at home.  For creatures of habit, this adventure is a challenge, one that we are enjoying but, nevertheless, a challenge.

As I paddled my kayak on the lake yesterday I was smiling.  I could hear the ocean waves breaking on the shore just over the dune.  I paddled along a patch of reeds close to shore and made eye contact with an egret.  He watched me as I silently floated by.  I am an intruder in this place, but the locals don't seem to mind my incursion into their territory.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WTF Wednesday: Sometimes Junk is Just Junk

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say, "What the f**k!"  Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

It's Thursday, but we don't have WiFi on Wednesday. so I'm late posting this...Get over it!

One thing the spouse and I like to do when we travel is visit the swap meets, junk stores, and antique barns all along our route.  Last week on our day off we went to Brookings, Oregon and found a lot of "antique" shops with lots of reproductions and made in China tourist crap.  We also found the Humane Society Thrift Shop and the Goodwill.  

The spouse said, "Did you notice that these thrift stores are well organized and smell nice?"  He was right.  They were probably the cleanest thrift stores I've been in.  However, we didn't find anything we couldn't live without.

We returned to Port Orford, our home away from home.  There's a thrift shop at the Senior Center and we stopped by to try our luck.

This was the most interesting item on the shelves...

What the f**k?  Who buys opened packages of panty liners at a thrift store?  There are some things that just shouldn't be recycled.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lifeboat Museum Hosts

The spouse and I are spending a month on the southern Oregon coast at Port Orford.  We are working for Oregon State Parks as volunteer hosts at the Lifeboat Museum.  We work four days a week from 10:00 to 3:30.  It's not strenuous work; so far today we've had only six visitors.  It has, however, taken some adjustment to rejoin the working world.  I've forgotten what it's like to not have a choice about rolling out of bed in the morning...a few words of protest might have escaped my lips.  

On our days off we are exploring other parts of the coast.  On Wednesday we visited Cape Blanco Lighthouse and got to visit with the lighthouse volunteers.  It might be a fun place to volunteer in the future.On Monday we're going to drive down to Brookings and then visit the Redwoods.  

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

We are staying at Tseriadun State Park, a day park located steps from the beach.  Every day after work I walk the beach, which is known locally as Agate Beach.  I have accumulated a collection of agates, rocks, shells, and driftwood.  The seals swim in the surf at "our" beach, where we are often the only humans on the beach.  Yesterday afternoon we went to Battle Rock in Port Orford and watched the whales in the bay. 

Agate Beach at Tseriadun State Park

Agate Beach

Agate Beach, at the tide line you can see the purple sailor jellyfish that have washed ashore by the thousands.
Purple sailor jellyfish
Purple sailor jellyfish

There's no Costco, no McDonald's, not even a Dairy Queen, and just a small grocery store.  There is a nice public library with very friendly staff and I'm now the proud owner of a Port Orford library card!

I haven't watched news in two weeks...except when we had breakfast at Hooks with the other park hosts and the overhead TV had Fox News playing, but we all know that's not really news!  I do miss TV, but I am enjoying the change of pace here.

We got this job because I read about the opening on a blog  Once we got to Port Orford, I had the opportunity to meet the writer of another blog that I've been reading for several years.  The spouse and I met up with Rosario Williams and her husband for dinner last night at Redfish, a waterfront restaurant with great food and a terrific view.  Rosario's blog is Loving Real Food and you can visit it by clicking on the title.

Life is good.  I think we'll be doing more hosting in the future.  I'm glad we said "Yes" to adventure.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zzzzzzz

Zzzzzz...there must be something about this coastal air, lulling sounds of crashing surf, and absence of traffic noise that makes for a good night's sleep.  I've gone to bed early the past two nights and fallen instantly asleep.  Our campsite is located in a former RV park, right next to a freshwater lake and just over the dune from the ocean.  If the tsunami siren goes off, we'll be scrambling to get to high ground!  The state bought the RV park from the former owners and is working to reestablish the native habitat.  The RV sites (except for two host sites) have been removed.  Another volunteer couple should show up today and fill the other campsite.  There have been very few park visitors except for the deer...who seem to have no fear of humans.

I am writing from the host desk at the Lifeboat Museum.  There's Wi-Fi at the museum!!!  The lifeboat station sits on a hill above the town of Port Orford.  We're safe from tsunamis up here.  I can see the ocean glistening in the sun out the window, but it is a sharp drop off to the ocean below.  Apparently the town didn't want to give up prime real estate in the port when the decision was made to put a lifeboat station in Port Orford, so they gave the Coast Guard the hill on the westernmost tip of Port Orford Heads.  The lifeboats were launched on rescue missions from a cove 280 feet below the station on the hill and the sailors lugged cans of gas down 500 steps steps to reach the boathouse in Nellie's Cove.

The boathouse is gone now, but you can see what remains of the dock in the picture above.  Below is the view from the trail to Nellie's Cove looking over the breakwater.

This morning I walked the Tower  Trail that leads to the site of the observation tower that was used during World War II to watch for enemy ships, submarines, and aircraft.  The tower was dismantled in 1970 when the station was decommissioned, but the view is still spectacular.

I will sleep well again tonight after hiking the trails today and probably a walk on our beach at sunset.  Zzzzzzzzzz
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