Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Day In Florence

Me and Jessie made a last minute decision and packed the boys into the car to head to Florence. It was about an hour and a half away but we were pretty excited to check out some of the sites they had there.

After grabbing lunch at an A&W drive in, we headed to see the first spot.

The Sea Lion Caves!

It was gorgeous. There were two different viewing spots, one outside and one inside. We opted to go down into the caves and see the inside one first. After we took some pictures from the top! And almost gone blown away because it was so freaking windy out.

You walk down a path to an elevator that takes you down into the caves. It's dark and you aren't supposed to use your flash to take any photos so a lot of my photos came out pretty blurry and crappy. But it was so cool. It was off season so there weren't a lot of sea lions inside the cave. Well there were a lot, but not as many as there are in the on season months.

My sister loaded up the viewer and lifted Preston up so that he could get a closer look at the sea lions. He thought it was pretty awesome getting to see so many sea lions. As if being in a giant cave wasn't cool enough.

After Preston got his fill of the sea lions, Mason was not all that interested, we headed up the stairs to the big opening at the top with a view of the lighthouse. It was gorgeous. And exhausting when Preston decided he was too tired to walk up the stairs and I had to carry him most of the way up and most of the way down. But it was pretty at the top.

After we hiked back up to the gift shop we got to hike back down on the other side to the outside viewing area. By then the wind had calmed down and it was actually pretty gorgeous outside, especially by Oregon Coast standards.

Preston got to look into another viewer to see the sea lions down below. He really loved the giant set of binoculars.

We took a photo, it was just so beautiful with the ocean in the background and the sun shining. I mean seriously, how cute is this photo?!

Then we hiked back up. I got lucky on the way up, Preston raced up to get to the little stream of water we'd passed on the way down. Score for me and my arms! Jessie got lucky too when Mason opted to chase Preston up the hill.

At the top Preston posed with some of the sea lions.

And then we dragged the boys back to the van so that we could head to our next stop.

Well our stop after our next stop because stopping at Rite Aid to empty the trash out of the car and pick up a few things doesn't really count as one of the exciting things we did in Florence. Especially when it involved me telling Preston that if he behaved the way he did in Rite Aid again we wouldn't be going anywhere.

But the stop after that one was much more exciting. We headed to Sandland Adventures to ride the dune buggies! We got there in between rides so we had some time to kill. They had opened up another dune buggy for us so we were hoping it would fill up enough that we would get to go for a ride.

To kill the time we had left we headed into the dunes not far from Sandland to explore.

After driving around to find a beach we finally got out of the car. We had to hike over the sand hill to get to the beach, so we got started. The boys thought the walk up the hill up was awesome. And used it as a way to wear themselves out a little bit.

We got to the top and HOLY WIND! I mean seriously. There were people up there just sitting at the top. Going over to the other side of the hill just wasn't going to happen. The wind was out of control and the sand was flying. Preston was even asking to go back to the other side of the hill, where the wind couldn't get us. So we stood at the top for a minute and then headed back down where we were safe from the wind.

We drove around and checked out a jetty and then headed back to Sandland to see if our buggy had filled up enough for us to get to take a ride. And here is why I have nothing but GREAT things to say about Sandland Adventures. When we got back they still hadn't filled up the buggy we were supposed to be riding on, in fact no one but us had signed up. There was already a full buggy going out, but it was completely full. So rather than telling us that they were sorry and that we would have to come back another day, they opted to space out the people amongst two buggies so that we could go for a ride. I was majorly impressed. They knew that the boys really wanted to ride and that we had driven an hour and a half to get there, and rather than looking only at the financial side of it they actually stopped and considered us. They would have made a lot more money just sending the one buggy out but instead they sent out two half full buggies so that we could go for a ride. I was even more impressed by this because it wasn't their fault that we showed up later in the day hoping to catch a ride, it was ours. I LOVE that they did what they could to make us happy! They even offered to loan me a sweatshirt because they thought I would be cold and didn't know I had another one in the car. They are a fabulous company!

We all threw on long sleeves and sweatshirts and grabbed sunglasses and we're good to go. We climbed on and buckled in ready to take a ride!

The buggy takes you out for a ride in the dunes. We headed into the area that we had just done some exploring in. Only this time we got to go into a much more exciting and beautiful area. They took us up onto a hill and let us overlook a lot of the dunes.

Then we headed down to the beach. The very same beach that we had just decided was much too windy to explore. It was absolutely gorgeous. We were on the beach at the end of the day as the sun was just starting to get ready to go down. With the waves and the beach it was so relaxing. Even with the wind. Preston loved it. He thought it was awesome that we were driving on the beach!

After the beach we headed back in to explore more of the dunes. Mason was starting to get tired at this point and was pissed that he didn't have his bottle. He was ready to go to sleep! We kept him entertained with hide and seek and OMG look at that over there and bumble bee games! Preston on the other hand was thrilled about being out on the buggies and then we saw some quads and another buggy from Sandland Adventures out riding around. That one was more of a thrill ride than a scenic tour. Preston informed me that next time he wanted to ride one of those. My little boy is such a BOY!

We started to make the drive back in and checked out a few more of the sites along the way. Our guide showed us a little lake inside the sand that the quads were riding around. Preston loved that. Then he showed us how dangerous the dunes can be when you are riding because from one side it looks like little hills but once you get over to the other side you can see that they aren't little hills because the second half of the hill isn't there, so you go up and over and then drop straight down.

Once we got back and unloaded from the buggy it was time to climb back in the car and start the drive back to Bandon.

We stopped along the way to grab Mason a bottle and some milk. Somehow he had lost his bottle in the car and we couldn't find it for the life of us. So we grabbed Mason a bottle and then grabbed all of us some fast food for dinner. FYI, a small town grocery store will only carry one kind of bottle and that is not the right kind of bottle. Mason was pissed, poor kid refused to take that bottle and did not love the ride home. Even worse was finding the bottle in between the back seats when we were emptying the car out when we got back to the house.

I am so glad we headed into Florence! We had such a fantastic day!

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