About Me

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I worked as a tour guide for two summers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon. This opportunity enabled me to learn more about that lighthouse than any of the others I've seen. Although I have personally visited and photographed over 300 lighthouses in the United States and three Provinces in Canada, the Umpqua River Lighthouse has special meaning for me. All pictures posted in this blog were taken by me, unless noted otherwise. The Umpqua River Lighthouse is where I was inspired to write my book titled, "The Wickie."

Book Info.

I invite you to read my book, "THE WICKIE." Preview the book's cover and watch the trailer below.
(Wickie was a nickname used by the early lighthouse keepers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in OR.)

This 1860's story about the lighthouse keepers and their families at the Umpqua River Lighthouse will warm your heart. Discover the challenges they met but never expected, and their determination to maintain navigational aid to mariners on the Oregon coast.

To order your signed copy of "The Wickie", send me an e-mail: awbates1955@gmail.com. The Book is $15 plus tax and shipping.

My book is also available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Use the Tabs below for links to these websites. At their website, click on books - In the Search area enter The Wickie.

22 September 2016

What’s In A Title?

Most people enjoy looking at lighthouse pictures, and when possible some may visit a lighthouse. However fewer of those who enjoy the pictures will take time to read a book about lighthouses. I recall talking to an editor about my manuscript and learned the book would be considered a "nitch book." He defined it as meaning only a small portion of the population would be interested in reading about a lighthouse. When I first heard this statement I was very discouraged. However, I quickly realized even the remainder of the population doesn’t all like reading love or mystery books. Knowing readers like different types of stories, I knew my book would still add to the many options readers have today.

Regardless of the genre someone might like reading; I know a book’s title can grab the shopper’s attention unless he or she is looking for a specific book. When designing the cover for my book, I chose the title knowing it would grab attention and hopefully spark peoples interest to read it. However, some folk have misinterpreted the book title and think it has to do with witches or evil doers.

Most readers can’t know from a book title exactly what the book is about until they read the book. Until then, their guessing and their comments can deter others from reading a good book. I chose The Wickie as the title for my book because “Wickie"  was a nickname the lighthouse keepers called each other in the old days. This name derived because keepers had to trim the wicks of the lantern to maintain a bright light. This book has nothing to do with Witches, but a lot to do with the lighthouse keepers, their families, and the challenges they all encountered but didn't expect.

If you like reading historical fiction, I hope you’ll enjoy reading “The Wickie.” This book is also written for young readers to enjoy.

08 September 2016

It's Not A Lighthouse

This is not a lighthouse! That may have been your thought when you first saw the above picture. If so, your right, but there is a lighthouse connected to my narrative about the two pictures shown here. That lighthouse is the Umpqua River Lighthouse. I have featured it before in my blog and in my book, The Wickie. A Photo of said lighthouse is pictured at the left of this blog post.

Pictured above is the Coastal Visitor Center (CVC) located on the grounds of the Umpqua River Lighthouse, Winchester Bay, OR.  Built in 1939, this building originally served as the former U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters until 1971 due to moving to their new headquarters near the water at Winchester Bay. In 1976, Douglas County Park purchased the building and converted it to the CVC. They opened it to the public in 1980. Top floors of the CVC now contain the museum with history about the lighthouse as well as the Coast Guard. The basement houses a gift shop which is the second largest gift shop on the west coast.

Pictured below is a U.S. Coast Guard Life Saving Boat. When I worked as a volunteer at the lighthouse and museum in 2004/2005, this boat was on display adjacent to the CVC. It was one used by the Coast Guard at this station. The boat is 36-feet 8-inches long with a 180 HP diesel engine. There is one feature of this boat that amazed me, and is an example of man’s engineering. This boat was designed to right itself in 15-seconds after turning over in rough seas. (Weights attached in the bottom of the boat made it possible.) 

01 September 2016

Few Lighthouses Have One

Most people who read my blog know I have visited and photographed many lighthouses around the U.S. and Canada. All lighthouses, regardless of their size or location, have one thing in common. That is the light. Another feature common to most lighthouses is a lightening rod at the top of the lantern. Although a few lighthouses do have a weather vane, I have only seen and photographed one such lighthouse. It is the Stonington Harbor Lighthouse in CT.
This lighthouse is located on Windmill Point at the east side of Stonington, Harbor, CT. The first lighthouse built near this location in 1823 had a 30-foot stone tower. However, due to erosion of the beach near that lighthouse, this one was built in 1840 to replace it. Builders used some of the granite stones from the original lighthouse. This tower stands 35-feet tall not counting the lantern. The lighthouse operated until 1889 when it was shut down. At the time of my visit here in 2001 the light remained inactive.

25 August 2016

A Popular Site To Visit - Yaquina Head Lighthouse

This lighthouse was built in 1873. Its tower at 93-feet is the tallest of any on the Oregon coast. The light stands 162-feet above sea level and is automated. It serves as an aid to navigation along the west coast and entrance to Yaquina Bay. The light from the first-order Fresnel lens is visible for 19-miles out to sea and is still an active light. The lighthouse and its site are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, while the lighthouse lens and light are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse has always been popular with visitors. As an example, as far back as 1938 officials recorded close to 12,000 visitors that year. This lighthouse was the fourth most visited lighthouse in the U.S. Yaquina Head was reported as one of the best maintained lighthouses on the west coast. To help maintain that record, keepers asked visitors to take off their shoes before they walked on the marble rotunda and climbed the 114-steps of the stairway.

Ships passing close to Yaquina Head reported their compasses would not function properly. This may seem very eerie, but there is an explanation. The land in front of where the lighthouse sits contains a vein of magnetized iron, and when a ship passes too close a traditional compass will not give an accurate reading.

South of the lighthouse, at the beautiful waters edge, are tide pools where sea stars, hermit crabs, purple urchins, and other sea life can at times be seen. This lighthouse is still a very popular tourist attraction and now receives over 400,000 visitors a year. It is only open to the public during daylight hours. I enjoyed my visit there in 1999.