Day 6: August 7, 2008
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When I booked the Snowline Motel I knew nothing of it history and it has a lot. When it originally opened in 1923, it was the only lodging around and even Timberline Lodge was many years away. When the current owners bought the place about three years ago, it was actually sitting idle with boarded up windows. It's been brought back to life and the resurrection will continue. Walls of the rooms in the two story section are paneled in tongue and groove pine like what is shown in the stairway. Mine isn't.

I headed west on US-26 and picked up I-5 near Portland then US-20 at Albany. It was the bright flowers around the Benton County courthouse that caught my eye but I was just as impressed by the fact that there is at least one point from which the courthouse can be photographed without a tangle of wires in front of it. That is very much a rarity. The 1889 courthouse is the oldest in Oregon being used for its original purpose. Photogenic and historic.

I was within an hour of the day's destination and I hadn't seen many sights or gotten into any trouble. A little blue sign changed all that. It contained nothing more than an arrow and the words "Siletz Brewery". I turned at the corner. Less than eight miles later I pulled up in front of the Siletz Roadhouse and a building labeled "TZ REWER". Inside the Roadhouse, I sampled some of the local product and asked about the brewery. Sure, the bartender told me, I could check it out. She called Randy to let him know I was coming. Randy is one of two brewmasters and either 25 or 50 percent of the work force. "Just two employees" he said but in reviewing the conversation, I can't decide if he meant two additional employees or if the two brewmasters do it all.

The brewery has been in business more than twelve years and makes ten different "flavors" including Spruce Ale. Using spruce buds or needles as a hops substitute was popular in colonial times and Siletz Brewery originally tried it as a seasonal offering. Now it's available year round. I thanked Randy for his time, picked up some Spruce Ale and Paddle Me IPA to go, and headed back toward US-26. That's when the trouble started.

I had noticed a few workman along the road on the way to Siletz but there had been no stops. Apparently they were waiting for me to hit town to start a major "tar & chip" job on OR-229. By the time I was ready to leave, a long line of traffic was already backed up in front of a flagwoman. I consulted the GPS and after a few locals pulled out of line, I did, too. North of Siletz, I turned onto Ojalla Road. It was a narrow thing that turned to gravel before too long. I was having second thoughts by the time I reached the little bridge but I pressed on. When I started seeing evidence of logging, I realized that I was not on a normal country gravel road. I passed a couple of gates but they were wide open and hardly noticeable in the roadside weeds. My concern was growing and I checked the cell phone a couple of times to see if there was a signal. There always was. In time I came to a gate that was not open. It was not locked and the GPS showed the turn toward Otter Rock just a half mile ahead. I swung the gate open and closed it behind me.

That road to Otter Rock was there but just barely. Within a few yards it was blocked with dirt and brush. Closed and abandoned some time back it seemed and I later saw that DeLorme shows it as a dashed line; An "unimproved local road". I moved on toward a mapped 101 connection about two miles further north. By now I had driven nearly a dozen miles since leaving OR-229 and I was feeling pretty stupid. I was also feeling pretty nervous as the consequences of slipping off the road or having a flat tire were obviously quite dire and the chances of meeting Bigfoot seemed to increase by the minute. Two miles later, one of my worst fears came true. A gate -- this one secured with two big Master padlocks -- stood within yards of cars passing on US-101. I carefully backed up several yards then even more carefully turned around at a wide spot in the road. I retraced my path and enjoyed immense relief when I regained pavement. I reached the "tar & chip" project just as a line of cars was being allowed through and I, after wasting more than an hour driving Oregon logging trails, happily joined them.

On 101 I was soon in Newport where I grabbed a picture of the bridge over Yaquina Bay and drove through the crowded Old Bayfront section. It looked like a place I might have stopped in (the Becky Repp recommended Mo's is there) had evidence of it being tourist season been less apparent. After passing through the "district", I did find a spot to park briefly and take a picture of some of the anchored boats and of the single working fisher I saw.

The day ended at the Dave Paul recommended Adobe Resort where I did laundry and enjoyed a fantastic meal. This was the nicest room I've had so far and it was among the cheapest. Dinner reservations are recommended and I made mine as soon as I checked in; before finding my room. All three pictures are from my table.

I picked the 8:00 slot in hopes of seeing the sunset but it was not to be. Clouds covered the horizon. I did, however, get a wedding rehearsal and a bubble blower. I understand that weddings on the Adobe's seaside grass are fairly frequent. The one being walked through tonight would happen for real on Friday. My waitress told me she would be working the reception. The last picture is really crappy, I know, but it's the best I've got of the bubbles. The bubble guy used a big flexible ring which he swung through the air to create one to three foot bubbles. In addition to the blur, the photo's imperfections include some window reflections of stuff (e.g., my waitress) inside the restaurant but the two bird shaped squiggles and the two straight lines below them are reflections of lights on the surface of bubbles.

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