Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

West Coast Roadtrip Jul-8-2011

Hokanson's Guesthouse in Roseburg was described as a Victorian bed and breakfast, but what this really meant was that it had an immense number of porcelain knickknacks, so many that Lori (who is far more fond of knickknacks than I am) felt that it was too much.
- the room was very spacious despite the knickknacks, so much so that we put our luggage on the double bed and slept in the king bed.
- the Hokansons were extremely welcoming and convivial, and we enjoyed chatting with them.
- the room was advertised as having a claw foot tub. We didn't realize that this meant that there was no shower head. Kneeling in the tub to put her head under the faucet left Lori's knees hurting for hours afterward.

Breakfast was attractively presented, but not as tasty as had hoped.

As we were preparing to leave, the other guests mentioned that classic cars were gathering for Graffiti Nights, a weekend celebration of classic cars in Roseburg. We took a brief stroll to admire the cars. (More pictures in the flickr album).

I asked the wrong question at the information booth, and got a sweet story. I meant to ask "What's the junkiest model of car that someone brings to these events?" Does someone spend hours carefully buffing their Yugo? Is there a club for dedicated Lada restorers? Does someone show off their gleaming Ford Pinto and orate about how the gas tanks didn't actually explode that often? (I don't know cars all that well, so if there are better examples of models of cars that are pure junkers, please do let me know.)
But instead, I asked "What's the junkiest car someone brings to these events?" The gentleman I was chatting with put a finger to his lips, gave a significant look towards the volunteer next to him, came out from the booth, and led us to this car. "He doesn't have a pot to piss in," he told us, "but he'd give you the shirt off his back, he shows up for all the events, and he works his tail off for the handicapped." I'm glad I got to know a little more about him from my wrong question.

The backroads drive from Roseburg to Bandon was a very pretty drive, though it was hard to take good pictures.

In Bandon, we stopped for lunch at La Fiesta, a cramped Mexican restaurant that I suspected of having a nautical theme in a former life. The food was good, and mild enough for Lori to eat cheerfully, but not distinctively memorable.

After lunch, we strolled around Bandon a bit.

Acting on mar52's recommendation, we stopped in Cranberry Sweets to buy some cranberry jellies. The cranberry jellies were excellent; the cheddar cheese fudge was not such a winner.

We stopped in a chocolate boutique named Coastal Mist (named after an early ship to bring cacao beans to Europe, according to the website), and had an amazing experience.

I was dazzled by the variety of drinking chocolates and drinking caramels they offered. Unfortunately, our camera failed to save the picture correctly, but I'm still going to show you what I can of the drink menu.

I ordered the hot caramel, and it was amazing. It had smooth, warm, liquid caramel over a large amount of very thick whipped cream; it was like a caramel ice cream sundae, but warm and light. And to my surprise, it was not cloying at all. This was an outstanding delight, one of my favorite items of our whole trip.
Lori was equally delighted by her chocolate bombe, which included superb chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache. She praised it for hours after we left Bandon.

There was a twist in our Coastal Mist experience, though. As I was waiting for our food while Lori went to the restroom, a customer struck up a conversation with me. It was ordinary enough at first; he asked if we were from out of town, and offered some recommendations of sights to see.
But about the time Lori joined us, the conversation got increasingly weird, so that as Lori was trying to enjoy her delicious chocolate, he was ranting disjointedly about corporate malfeasance, the government neglect that allowed such malfeasance, and plans to sabotage Dairy Queen by framing them for a major safety violation. I might have expected such incoherent rambling from a stranger in a whiskey-soaked bar, but not in an elegant chocolate shop.

But we assume that the incoherent rambler is not typical of the Coastal Mist experience, and therefore we would recommend Coastal Mist very strongly.

A little way out of Bandon, we got our first view of the ocean.

I had bought a kite in Bandon, and we took some time to fly it for a few minutes. Honestly, the breeze was so strong that we could have tied a tail to a brick and gotten it airborne, but we had fun.

It's hard to select the best pictures from our drive down the Oregon coast.

At mr chips' recommendation, we stopped at Prehistoric Gardens, a little roadside attraction of thirty dinosaur statues in a little piece of Oregon's coastal rain forest. We enjoyed the place for a half hour, but we felt that the ticket price was a bit steep for a half hour's entertainment. I decided that the extra cost was subsidizing the existence of quirky roadside attractions like this for those who don't visit, and that made me feel a bit better about the price.

We stopped for dinner at the Nautical Inn, just across the California border.

We were thrilled by the chance to watch the sun set on the ocean while we waited for our dinner.

Lori got fried halibut and chips, good but not extraordinary.

I got lingcod in a citrus butter sauce, which was really quite good.
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