and drink plenty of it

Traveling Them Thar Hills


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Invasion of the Velella or “by the wind sailors”

We are making a correction to a previous post. What we thought was a man of war turns out to be a
Velella or by the wind sailor. They sure look alike.

We thought it was an invasion of small sailing ships by aliens because thousands of these were on the beach the other morning. We have never seen these before at any beach on the Pacific or Atlantic. We actually thought it was a major die off of some sea creature. But with further investigating we found there was a much different explanation of what happened. Luckily we never came in contact with the stinging part of this being. We thought it was some kind of jellyfish. But this article below is what we googled and our pictures are below that description. I found it interesting that some have right handed sails while others have left handed sails. Part of the survival of the species.

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Anyone unfamiliar with the biology of the venomous Portuguese man-of-war would likely mistake it for a jellyfish. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it’s not even an “it,” but a “they.” The Portuguese man-of-war is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.

The man-of-war comprises four separate polyps. It gets its name from the uppermost polyp, a gas-filled bladder, or pneumatophore, which sits above the water and somewhat resembles an old warship at full sail. Man-of-wars are also known as bluebottles for the purple-blue color of their pneumatophores.

The tentacles are the man-of-war’s second organism. These long, thin tendrils can extend 165 feet (50 meters) in length below the surface, although 30 feet (10 meters) is more the average. They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. For humans, a man-of-war sting is excruciatingly painful, but rarely deadly. But beware—even dead man-of-wars washed up on shore can deliver a sting.

Muscles in the tentacles draw prey up to a polyp containing the gastrozooids or digestive organisms. A fourth polyp contains the reproductive organisms.

Man-of-wars are found, sometimes in groups of 1,000 or more, floating in warm waters throughout the world’s oceans. They have no independent means of propulsion and either drift on the currents or catch the wind with their pneumatophores. To avoid threats on the surface, they can deflate their air bags and briefly submerge.

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Negative 2.6 Tide so Hike around the shoreline of Cape Blanco

Big negative tides, such as the -2.6 foot tide that occurred last Sunday morning don’t happen very frequently, so we decided we’d take advantage of it and hike around the shoreline below the lighthouse at Cape Blanco. We’ve never done that hike before, but have heard it’s an interesting one. Now if we were good scouts, we would have been better prepared, with proper footwear (flip-flops are perfect for regular beach walking, BUT hiking around the cape is another story!) There are many big, slippery rocks covered with seaweed and kelp that make the hike rather dangerous in spots; water-type sports shoes, with a good non-slip sole would be a great choice for this one. The weather was perfect, the negative tide was 8:30 am, giving us plenty of time for our hiking challenge. We really weren’t sure what we would find around the cape, so we set off to find out. We climbed up and over big slippery rocks and through a couple of cave-like crevices to reach other small beaches on the journey. It was a great hike that slowed us to a 70 minute mile at one point but was well worth the effort to reach small secluded beaches that are only attainable at low tides. I’m very glad that Michelle and I, and Calle have been walking an average of five miles per day on the beaches since we’ve been here at Cape Blanco – that gave us the stamina to make this rather crazy hike! The map shows the route we took around the cape; my pictures don’t capture the sheer grandness of this place, with all the interesting things you see in the rocks and on the beaches. On the map you will see the route we took, everything on the left side or west of the cape should be through blue not green. It is usually under water.

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Note the slowest mile in the upper right and the fastest mile in the upper left. Slippery can slow you down.

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The start of the hike south of the lighthouse with the beach below.

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Around the first bluff southwest side.

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The wrong footwear for all feet showing

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Walking thru the boulders and around, above and to the side of tide pools on the west side.

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At the top middle you can see a small flat surface sticking out from the sandstone edge. That is a slab used during WWII as a lookout for enemy ships. There was a structure on that slab. It is to the southwest of the lighthouse when you have a vantage point out of the top windows of the lighthouse.

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Slab as viewed from the lighthouse.

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The northwest side and the north below with the final push through the rocks.

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The north side of the Cape.

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Mile 4 to 4.7 on the map.

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Friends along the way.

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Life throws you a few curves along the way.


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Cape Blanco Pictures

Just a few more pictures from a most beautiful place. We are having such a great time. Life at the lighthouse is very rewarding to us!! Doesn’t matter what Mother Nature sends our way we love it . It changes everyday and Mother Nature repairs what humans do between high and low tides. It’s so amazing to watch, constantly changing!

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Fresnel Lens (Frey-nel)

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Outside roof gutter to the Lighthouse, with the handles used to clean the glass.

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Michelle in front if the lens.

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Panorama of the watchroom. You can see the motor that turns the one ton lens.

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Spiral staircase to the watchroom.

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The biggest float we have found on the beach from the Japanese Tsunami from a few years ago. One of many finds on the beach.

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Calle enjoying the beach chasing every seagull she can spot!


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First Day of Work and Blacklock Point Hike

Wednesday the morning of the fourth was our first day on the job at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. It was a windy greeting for us with sustain winds of 33 mph. On the wind gauge provided to monitor the winds to decide when to shutdown the tours (which is 50mph) I captured one gust of 54.7 mph. But being the first day I decided not to shutdown the tours. Don’t tell anyone please!

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Today we made a return trip to Blacklock Point (we hiked to the point in July of last year). The trail is well maintained and beautiful scenery through 2 miles of forest and what I would describe as a rainforest with so much vegetation it’s hard to see to your sides more than 20 feet. The trail is a nice easy hike to the ocean cliffs and an amazing view north and south to Cape Blanco Lighthouse. On the hike last year we walked into a fog that could have been used for a twilight zone episode, but today it was a clear sunny and very windy day. Michelle and I have become very use to the wind here and have pretty much decided we will deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at us! And it’s a bunch!
I really wanted to see the lighthouse from this southern vantage point, also wanted to pick up a geocache and look for tsunami artifacts – mission accomplished: found geocache and a couple of fishing boat floats from Japan on the beach walk to the Sixes River. Too bad the floats aren’t the wonderful old-fashioned glass kind!

This is what you get here

Walking down this beach is one option for hiking in the state park, though the most spectacular location lies further south, beyond the cliffs, reached by a 1.5 mile trail through thick coastal woodland. This is Blacklock Point, a grassy promontory between steep, rocky hillsides that drop down to a beautiful, unspoiled dark sand beach, dotted with many rocks, large and small. There are several tiny islands (large rocks more like it) a little way out to sea, sheer cliffs to the north – the end of the line extending from Floras Lake, and more sand to the south, stretching 2 miles to the Sixes River and Cape Blanco. The beauty is enhanced by the general remoteness and the contrast with the lush forest just inland, where the trees mingle with ferns, rhododendrons, mushrooms, strawberries, orchids and other varied plantlife. There is no charge for entry to the state park, and the point is a good location for free camping, either vehicle-based by the trailhead, or in a tent at the edge of the forest, close to the ocean.

This years trek was worth the hike in the wind; geocache, tsunami finds, and of course our picnic in a driftwood shack out of the wind. Also the fishing lures, can’t forget that.

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Sunflower Starfish, and very rare!

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The hike through the forest

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Panorama of Blacklock Point from the top.

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Floats and other tsunami finds

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That was the hike.
Michelle left her coat at the start of the beach hike along with our hiking shoes. When we started back to the cliffs from the sixes the winds in our face were cold and relentless. She was so cold she decided to run on the sandy beach in 33 mph winds for a mile and a half to get to her coat. I was impressed , the winds just walking were flat ass kicking my butt!!!!!

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Driftwood shack for a picnic.

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View to the southeast to the Hughes House.

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View from the shack to the southwest from the Sixes River.


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It’s been a long time

It’s been a very long time since we have posted on ‘And Drink Plenty of It’; there are a few reasons why – mostly plain laziness!
Our winter camp ground host position at Lake Pleasant Arizona took a bunch of our time, but was still enjoyable!
Michelle could only think about flying to Salt Lake to see the new Grandbaby Charlotte! And every chance she got, she did just that! I, on the other hand, wanted to do that too, but had to stick around because I was the only one who could get in the RV door. I had estimates of up to 600 bucks to get it fixed. I was told up to 7 hours to adjust the linkage. Well, in Salt Lake I got up the nerve to take the door apart and see if I could fix it. Wow was that easy and it only took 2 hours. I’m free at last.
While in Arizona I guess I spent more time riding the blackberry than I should have. I put 2,000 miles on it. Now I feel bad I didn’t see my family more. So next winter that will all change. I’ll become a pest and when I do I want to be told.
So after Lake Pleasant it was time to get Huey’s yearly maintenance done and things repaired I didn’t want to do. Freightliner Oasis in Tollenson AZ did a great job and took care all the extended warranty stuff. It’s a fine running machine now.
After that we took off for Payson to see Mom before leaving for you guessed it (Salt Lake and Charlotte), Michelle was in heaven!
All things on our trip must end and wait for another time. So we left for Chenin and Bryce’s house, in Bend Oregon, to see them before leaving for Roseburg to see Laura and Michael for a few days before heading to the fabulous Oregon coast.
We arrived at Cape Blanco State Park on Friday the 30th, ready to start our summer Interpretive hosting positions at the lighthouse & Coast Guard museum. We had our orientation Sunday and met our fellow hosts, we hope this group clicks like the fantastic group we were lucky enough to host with last year! We are thoroughly enjoying the beach, the lighthouse, and the wind. Life is good!

Here’s a few pictures since the last post.

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Bartlett Lake north of Phoenix

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Proud Grandma

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Freightliner for a week

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Willow Springs lake with Mom

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Arizona/Utah border

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Me and Charlotte

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Pretty early to be in Salt Lake on the end of March first of April

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What a family

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Grandpy and Charlotte

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At the Utah State Capitol

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Charlotte the pinball wizard

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With Chenin and Bryce Worthy Brewing Bend Oregon

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On the road to Cape Blanco