Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
Thursday the 18th of July started early, with a stroll through downtown Ashland. It's a darling little town, touristy, but welcoming, even before many people show up in the morning. I started photo practice with two architectural shots, including the town's only high rise.
The route from Ashland to Port Orford is not direct. This part of Southern Oregon is sparsely populated, especially in the band between Interstate 5 and the Pacific. Google Maps offered us two routes, one that looped back into California and then north on the Coast Highway and the other an equally long loop north over to Bandon and down. We took the northern route because there were plenty of Tesla chargers for quick refueling stops. This was probably too cautious, but that's what we are nowadays.
In Port Orford, we arrived at the Shoreline Inn and Suites. The name is far grander than the place deserves, but it did have an ocean view out the back window and a charger. What more could one ask for? For me, the old motor hotel was a reminder of beach trips with family 60+ years ago. I'm sure the Shoreline was vintage, even then.
After a quick stop to move in, we headed up to the Trotter party house. My first cousins, once removed, (cousin Tom's kids) have purchased a beach home up on Coast Guard Hill, above the local tsunami zone, and Marianne and I were crashing a family gathering. Arrival was filled with lots of hugs and I-think-we've-met-before greetings. Soon we dug into Kathleen's lasagna, with her own special sauce and other ingredients from an exclusive pasta purveyor (= Costco). Food and laughter were both great.
We went for a walk after dinner, because that's what one does in Oregon coastal communities. Our walk was short, just up to see the outside of the neighboring retired Coast Guard lifeboat station. More details in tomorrow's entry.
After a peaceful night in the Shoreline Inn and Suites (suites?) and breakfast at the Portside Cafe, Tom and Kathleen met us for a walk on Battle Rock Beach, definitely an Oregon thing. Nice walk.
Our next tourist stop was back up the hill to the Coast Guard Station. Built in 1934, and operated through the 1960s, the Port Orford station joined a half dozen other lifeboat stations along the Oregon and Washington coast. "Surfmen" would rush down to shoreline boathouses and push off into stormy weather to rescue crews from boats that had foundered on the rocky coastline. In World War II, there was both a ship sinking and an aerial bombing in the local area and over 100 Coast Guardsmen were squeezed in the station to protect against invasion. It worked.
The next stop on the Trotter tour was the Port Orford harbor, a "dry harbor" where boats were pulled from the water and stored on the pier rather than anchored in the very small bay. There are active fishing boats, venturing off the rocky coast to harvest a wide variety of fish, including salmon, tuna, red-fish, and crab.
North from Port Orford, we visited the Cape Blanco lighthouse and the neighboring Hughes House, both dating from the 19th Century. Unfortunately, we arrived after closing time, so we will have to come back to get the inside stories.
In honor of my mom's heritage, we could not pass up the opportunity for family dinner at The Crazy Norwegian Fish and Chips. We squeezed the dozen Trotter family members into the small restaurant and filled it with happy noise, while the cook and servers filled us with great food. This was a perfect end to our gathering.
We left everyone with promises to gather again. Some time. Somewhere.
John and Marianne