We began this trip with a leisurely 9:00 a.m. departure from ShopKo parking lot under gray and misty skies. Our group included twenty-five members, eight guests, Augie Bergman our driver and his wife Char. The purpose was to begin the Christmas holiday season by viewing the colored lights display at Shore Acres State Park. The gardens at Shore Acres are always beautiful, but at Christmas time they are magical. We enjoyed the drive down Highway 38 as it winds along the Umpqua River towards Reedsport. A brief stop at Dean Creek viewing area gave us the opportunity to see approximately fifty beautiful elk. At first glance there didn’t appear to be many, but as we watched they began to rise out of the grass and wander in our direction. Our lunch stop at Eel Lake, Tugman State Park, was a bit damp even though we had use of the picnic shelter. This is one of the many lakes tucked away among the trees in Oregon’s Coast Range. Following lunch we drove to Bandon for a stop at Face Rock Creamery where we shopped for fantastic cheese products, sampled several varieties and some enjoyed wonderful ice cream cones. Then it was off to Coos Bay to check in at the Mill Casino Hotel where we were given a warm welcome, including cookies and lemonade, around the lovely fireplace in the lobby. Wonderful hospitality, great views of the bay and comfortable rooms. Dinner was pre-arranged pizza and salad at Arby’s, then it was off to Charleston and Shore Acres for the fabulous light show. We strolled through the gardens under an occasional light sprinkle and basked in the light displays surrounding us, including several animated scenes. Most riders also wandered through the Garden House with its beautiful Christmas decorations in every room. Because of the Super Moon being at its fullest on December 1st, the waves and tide were perfect for spectacular viewing. So we went back out to the coast after breakfast for stops at Simpson Reef, Cape Arago and Shore Acres to view the action. The waves were incredible! We were fortunate it wasn’t raining, because the mist from the waves did get some people quite wet. It was hard to tear ourselves away to begin the casual drive home. An unplanned stop at the Oregon Connection (House of Myrtlewood factory) in Coos Bay was a great find. We watched a video of the whole process of making beautifully crafted objects from harvested timber. From bowls to clocks, fine jewelry to putters for golfing and so many more lovely items. In the United States, Myrtlewood is only found in southwestern Oregon and northwestern California coastal areas. Our last stop was a visit to Old Town Florence for lunch a little (more) shopping. Once again the rain held off so we could enjoy walking around the area. We arrived back at Shopko around 4:45 with a group of riders ready for the joyous holiday season.Members: Barbara Beard, Judy Adamcyk, Thomas Adamcyk, Bill Arthur, Paul Beard, Paula Beard, Barbara Bruns, Sharon Cutsforth, Sharon Gadomski, Esme Greer, Joel Greer, Janet Jacobsen, John Jacobsen, Verna Kocken, Sandra Larsen, Ann Lichtenstein, Ed Lichtenstein, Vern Marsonette, Craig Molitor, Jim Northrop, Don Payne, Judy Phelps, Margaret Prentice, Ginny Reich, Debra Schwartz. Nonmembers: Marlene Boehm, Marcia Claypool, Sheila Marsonette, Connie McIndoo, Joanna Molitor, Dennis Sears, Jan Sears, Edith Pattee.
Christmas Light Show at Shore Acres State Park—photo by John Jacobsen
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