Thanks to a tip from a co-worker who lives at the coast (Thanks, Ken!), our trip to Coos Bay turned out to be a sight-seeing Bonanza. He suggested we drive past the Shore Acres State Park a ways and look for sea lions on the rocks. It sounded like a good way to spend a few minutes, and Griff loves to try out new roads. It was gorgeous, and we stayed for several hours, believe it or not, actually BASKING in the SUN! Yes, Oregon in January – and the wind wasn’t blowing, and the sun was shining. Hundreds of sea lions bobbed up and down in the surf , and as I sketched I was buzzed by a hummingbird several times! At one point I saw a white plume that may or may not have been a whale blowing – people with binoculars thought it was, I wasn’t sure that my imagination hadn’t embellished it a bit.
After that sunny interlude, we drove back down to the botanical gardens at Shore Acres, where I was able to sketch the old gardener’s house, built in about 1914 by the very wealthy Simpson family. They graciously donated their entire water’s edge mansion and grounds to the state in the 1930’s. There wasn’t much in bloom this season, but lots of hopeful daffodil points were beginning to poke up, and a few industrious bees buzzed around the sun-warmed heather near the entrance.
The weekend was over too soon. Sunday the January weather returned and we drove home in the rain, stopping for lunch at the Gingerbread restaurant in Mapleton. I remember stopping there with my Dad as a teen when he took me fishing with him on the Siuslaw River. I sketched, he caught salmon – or not, but we both enjoyed just sitting on the river, watching the world slip past. I was pleased to see that the same souvenir plates line the shelves above the windows, and the 1960’s decor is pretty much intact… what I didn’t expect were the cowboys at the next booth. Cruel spurs, ten gallon hats, long knives on their belts, they were the Real Deal. I wish our friends from Botswana could have been with us to see this little bit of Americana!
It’s not my best effort at perspective, etc., but frankly, I was afraid they might not take kindly to being sketched, so it was a rush job!