Monday, May 9, 2011


Florence is everywhere it seems. Florenceians from Oregon know precisely where they are, and where every other city of Florence is too. They are proud to flaunt that they are 5800 miles from Florence, Italy and 890 miles from Florence, California, and...
3,717 miles from Florence, Nova Scotia and 1,256 miles from Florence, you can see, its fun!
This is a nice town. You can get 25 different kinds of craft beers here, for starters. Even the local Moose Club serves up a Black Butte Porter. Ahh, the West Coast advantage, good bread and beer.

 The town is nicely surrounded by water, woods and sand dunes. The art deco 1930's style draw bridge takes you over the Siuslaw (pronounced say-use-slaw) River. Several fish houses and restaurants feature the abundant fresh Oregon clams, crabs, cod and halibut. In fact, since it was Mother's Day, we had planned to go out for lunch at a well recommended restaurant called the Waterfront Depot after poking around town and visiting the Pioneer Museum. 
 We found out they were only open for dinner and we were hungry. I ran into a shop and asked the cashier for a second best restaurant in town and she said in a very commanding way, "No, you must go there if you can get a seat. Every one up and down the coast comes to this place. You need a reservation. They are setting up right now. Go to the door and see if they have a spot for you." How could I refuse such an order?
But, they were full.  Since they are open 7 days a week we reserved a table for tomorrow instead.  The Bay Street Grill served us a nice bowl of clam chowder with excellent sour dough bread.
 The day was sunny and crisp. The rhododendron festival is just around the corner and we saw bunches of them around town and on the road.
Exhibits from the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum were of good quality and thorough about this locality. Great pianos, organs, dulcimers, drums, a military room, sewing room, the usual household items and tools you are likely to see. The docents were friendly and well informed.  I like museums where I find something I've never seen before. I was in for a curious treat.
This contraption is a Sears & Roebuck fireless cooker and radiator. The cooking and heating is done by placing soap stones that fit in the well in the sun to absorb heat. Then the radiated heat cooks your food and helps keep your room warm. And I thought solar cooking devices were modern green technology?
 This my friends, I wish I had at home. A musical toilet paper holder, as long as it doesn't play the Star Spangled Banner. The docent demonstrated it for me. You pull on the paper and it winds up the music box and plays a tune. Guess it didn't catch on commercially.
 This perfectly round bowling ball sized rock was formed by rolling around and around at the foot of a falls, trapped in an indent. Smaller stone "marbles'  were formed that way as well.
 Beach balls, another natural phenomena found on beaches the world over.
 This key collection, and a button collection; an old wooden ironing board with a metal plate built into it,   prevents the iron from burning the board. A couple gigantic pressure cookers. A whole raft of stuff I'd never been acquainted with. I've really played with trivial things here, but this museum, set in a former school house,  has interesting local history, families, industry, stories. The local Siuslaw Indians were peaceful people who got along well with the white settlers. The Indians would protect themselves from forest fires by heading for the beach and loading their families into a boat and anchor far enough off shore to prevent encounters with cougars, bear, and other predators also taking refuge near the water.
 I couldn't resist this picture. A bunch of  the Beach Gang, during WWII, volunteers who watched for ships but liked to play around a bit on occasion, built this gigantic sling shot.

I couldn't pass up this jail door, either. It says door, not window.

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