Friday, December 08, 2006

Elk, Winchester Bay and Christmas Lights

It was an exciting day today. Scrabble Queen's Aunt Vivacious is visiting from the Lone Star State and we took a drive to the coast. On the way we stopped at the Roosevelt Elk Preserve. These Elk were named after Teddy Roosevelt the great conservationist.
"Roosevelt elk are sometimes known as Olympic elk and they are the largest of the big game animals. A mature bull may weigh as much as 1,000 pounds or even more, but on the average they will weigh much less. Both male and female elk have a dark-colored neck mane. Antlers of the males are heavy, and tend to rise straighter and with much less spread than antlers of the Rocky Mountain elk."

A very dedicated community fundraising effort helped to construct the O. H. Hinsdale Interpretive Center.

This all-weather shelter provides year-round viewing of the many species that live in the area as well as beautifully created interpretive displays like the one above.

We used the pullout area to view the Elk and eat lunch in the Musemobile.

The land which has become the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Preserve was purchased by The Bureau of Land Management in a land exchange in 1987. The Bureau, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a group of dedicated local citizens, built what has become a great place to learn about the wildlife in our area. This 1,095-acre parcel allowed us a wonderful opportunity to view the elk.

Our next destination was Winchester Bay

I noticed the Houseboat I used in an earlier blog was already "decked" out for Christmas and is still for sale.

The pilings in the bay used for moorings, I suppose, looked like they were floating in the sky. I guess in a way they were because the water reflected the sky very well. The interesting thing is how hard it is to tell where the piling stopped and the reflection began.

History of Winchester Bay
The area of the Winchester Bay was originally inhabited by the ancestors of the modern-day Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua (Kuitsh), and Siuslaw Indians. The sixteenth century brought contact between the local Native American Indians, Spanish, and British explorers. By the 1700s contact increased and by 1791 Lower Umpqua traded with ships that stopped at the mouth of the Umpqua River. Some of the first recorded contact between the Siuslaw and fur trappers from the Hudson'’s Bay Company occurred in 1826. Two years later, in 1828, conflict between the Lower Umpqua and fur trapper and explorer Jedediah Strong Smith resulted in the loss of many of Smith's company.

Fur trapping continued to grow in the area and in 1836 the Hudson'’s Bay Company established a trading fort, Fort Umpqua, upriver near the modern day town of Elkton. In addition to fur trapping, the gold rush brought more Euro-American settlers to the area. Winchester Bay was initially established as a trading point called West Umpqua. The town was established in 1850 and was named after Herman Winchester, a member of an expedition from San Francisco. Winchester served as the County Seat for Douglas County and the first meeting of the Douglas County Commission was held there in 1853. Due to popular vote, Winchester Bay lost their role as County Seat to Deer Creek or modern-day Roseburg in 1854 and many local businesses left Winchester Bay for Roseburg. Prominent industries throughout the 1900s included timber, agriculture, and fishing. Today tourism is increasingly becoming a prominent sector in Winchester Bay.

We pulled into the Mill Casino to hang out and later drive to see the Shore Acres Christmas lights only to find out the Casino had a special shuttle going out there at about 5:30 which was great since the road there is dark and windy and only 2 narrow lanes. Well the Musemobile was spared the trip and a nice very talkative driver took us to the lights.

And here we are at the gift shop starting our electric adventure on the Oregon coast, even though we never saw the ocean because of the dark. Well here we are isn't accurate none of us are in the picture so don't bust an eyeball looking.

The cedar trees behind the gift shop are huge and wonderfully lit in a faint amber color.

Some decorations are simply lights draped over shrubs and some in shapes of animals like this one of the whale
"A community tradition was born in 1987 when the Friends of Shore Acres decided to "string a few lights" to help celebrate the holidays. That first season, 6,000 miniature lights, one Christmas tree, and the decorated Garden House drew 9,000 visitors.

Now,more than a quarter million lights - both holiday and landscaping many Christmas trees, lighted sculptures, a new performance pavilion, and a beautifully decorated Garden House draw 40,000 to 60,000 visitors each season."

There were pelicans flying to the chimney of the Garden House which was trimmed beautifully

Looking back toward the Information Center/Giftshop was a great view.

Looking across the gardens you get some idea of all the lights.

A large group of visitors were singing carols in the Pavillion and did amazingly well.

Some of the lights are simple and yet graceful.

Others abeautifullyull arranged for maximum effect like those at the "Lily Pond" Japanese garden reflecting on the pond.

I especially liked the frog jumping over the pond. This is an animated series moving from one lit figure to another. I caught two of the frog figures in this image as well as their reflections.

This look across the lily pond could not be captured adequately in this or any of the other photos but it was the mospectacularlar of all the views.

My creative picture of the day was this one looking past the fountain near the center of the gardens.

I also got 4 dolphins if you consider the two 1/2 images as picture.

We took the shuttle back to the Casino for a nice buffet of seafood and other goodies. Then played a little feed the machines at the casino before checking aunt Vivacious into a room at the Casino's Hotel and retiring back to the RV.

No Scrabble because it was past Scrabble Queen's bedtime.

Today we saw Roosevelt Elk so it's fitting I quote Teddy Roosevelt in a statement that is most important we remember.

Quote of the Day ~
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." ~

"Teddy Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star"
May 7, 1918

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