Exploring Florence - Dune Buggie Ride

May 13, 2008

Twenty two riders and one bus driver left Eugene via backroads around Fern Ridge Lake and spillway to the small community of Franklin, joining Hwy. 36 just west of Cheshire. We stopped for a coffee break at the lovely creek and wooded area of Alderwood, with plenty of wild Dogwood trees and many wild flowers dotting the trail along the creek. A refreshing walk along the creek was enjoyed by several riders.

Hwy. 36 to Mapleton was a memory for some — the only way to Florence from Eugene for many years, but a new Hwy for some newcomers to our area. Florence Old Town and waterfront along the Suislaw offered many shops and a great walk along old restored buildings and new ones being built to the Suislaw Historical Museum. Being in Florence just three days before the continuing celebration of the 100th year anniversary of the Rhody Festival, let us in on the best of color, and the town was decked out for the festive weekend coming up.

Rhododendron Dr. along the Suislaw River to Harbor Vista gave us new spring freshness of Rhodies, both wild and cultured. At the end of this beautiful drive, we dined for lunch at Driftwood Shores. There is a wonderful ocean view from the upstairs banquet room. A birthday party for those celebrating in the month of May, Ewart Baldwin and Paula Beard, two days apart, was celebrated in the traditional style, with cake, ice cream, balloons and singing, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ewart and Paula.

After lunch, we traveled south of Florence about five miles to the Dune City area for a tour atop some of the highest sand dunes in the world. The sand-rutted road was spotted with splashes of wild rhody color on our way to the dunes. The day was high clouds and overcast, but we could still see the ocean three miles away just past the tree line separating the dunes from the ocean. Our dune buggy driver had been out early in the morning to check out sand conditions and gave us many insights of the animal life and five lakes and small forests in the dune area. All of these areas are completely protected from any type of harassment, dune buggies included. Wildlife in the areas include bear, fox, deer, raccoon, weasel, rabbits and rodents. Our driver did get us close enough to view the underground spring with waterfall coming literally out of the sand and feeding one of the lakes. It was a beautiful sight.

The trip back home found us enjoying hot gingerbread at the Gingerbread House along the Route F road. There were some surprises along the way, great conversation and a few tall fish stories. A great day with a great busload of Obsidians and friends. Come join us sometime for a bus trip. You will always be in for a new experience.

Riders were: Ethel Allen, Ewart Baldwin, Barbara Beard (leader), Paul Beard, Paula Beard, Louise Behnke, Diane Dann, Rachele Fiszman, Barbara Flanders, Don Flanders, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Ben Jeffries, Pat Jeffries, Rosella Jones, Verna Kocken, Barbara Payne, Don Payne, Liz Reanier, Dick Speelman, Janet Speelman and Vera Woolley.

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