#221–On the road factchecking . . .


Last Saturday I was in Lincoln City, Monday Yachats, Wednesday Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside, Friday North Bend, Coos Bay, Bandon, and Sunset Bay State Park.

Once the book is written, you’re not done. At least not the way I do it. My book has 27 stories about the “unexpected” along the coast. Now is the factchecking and acquiring photos one way or another phase. Sometimes I go to museums and do the factchecking myself. Other times I depend on folks who know more than I do about the subject to read the story and get back to me. I don’t like to send stories via email cause I don’t want to see them online somewhere before the book even comes out. So I deliver stories by hand or snail mail. A few I will email but very few.

As to photos, I will take some, I will be able to have photos provided from businesses or public entities, and I may buy some from professional photographers. And, of course, my publisher, Bob Serra, may take some. He did the covers for my two bridge books and that’s why I think they sell so well.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I combined selling books along with the factchecking on these trips.


I have four unexpecteds in one story, and all are located at Cape Perpetua.

Last Saturday, it was snowy on my deck, but the temps had risen and it had turned to slush by 10:20 a.m. when I left. Heading up the coast, I saw no snow––just periods of rain. I dropped off text and a cover letter at Cape Perpetua and then straight to Lincoln City. I always travel with food. So for lunch I picked Boiler Bay as my scenic lunch spot. Since it was between rain showers, I could also stretch my legs.

I stopped at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum and Director Jeff Syrop had the files I needed ready for me. He also had photos for me to go through. I selected one photo, and he got the paperwork ready. Then I spent three hours going through everything on the Abraham Lincoln Statue and the D River. I was able to verify what I had and to add interesting tidbits. As I worked my way through hundreds of pages of stuff and newspaper clippings, it was exciting to find truly interesting tidbits.

Before a book goes to press everything is subject to change. So on Sunday, I changed my mind about the unexpected at Cape Perpetua. I decided to flesh out the story and give it four pages instead of two. And that also meant four photos instead of two. So on Monday, I dropped off the new version at Cape Perpetua and picked up the old. I knew the ranger would not be in over the weekend.


Whale Park is one of the quirky unexpecteds in my new book.

Then I headed to Yachats. I got photos of Whale Park and of the grounds of the Little Log Church. And I went over the Log Church story with Mary Crook, the officiate there. Then I stopped by Mari’s books. And Mari wanted more. So I sold her more bridge books. Then I headed home, as I needed to be on duty at Backstreet Gallery from 2 to 6 p.m.


On Wednesday before being on duty as a docent at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum from noon to 4 p.m., I stopped at Darlingtonia Botanical Natural Site and verified my information with the interpretive signs and took some photos. The skunk cabbages were at their peak and absolutely beautiful. The Darlingtonia not so much. I’ll be back in May or June when they’re in bloom.


The skunk cabbage was at its peak.

On Thursday afternoon, I called and emailed some unexpected places for factchecking on the south coast plus I called a few places that carry my books. I set up meetings with folks at two unexpected venues, left messages at two others, and two bookstores wanted more books. I tweaked all the stories involved and wrote cover letters. I finally stopped for dinner at 9 p.m.










On Friday, I got packets ready with cover letters and copies of stories as well as the invoices and books for the bookstores. I headed out about 11 a.m. and it was cloudy but warmish. I tried to get gas at Freddies, but so was everyone else. This was, after all, spring break for most schools in Oregon. It took three tries, but I finally got gas. Then I headed south.


First stop was Books on the Bay in North Bend. Harold wanted more bridge books. Then onto Bandon. I stopped at the Bandon Historical Museum and met with Director Gayle Nix. She had run a copy of information for me about the Legend of Face Rock. I told her about a conflict I had in various spellings of a name I would need to use. So she dug up an old obituary, and we solved the mystery. You’d have thought we won the lottery. In researching something, you feel like a detective and when the mystery is solved, it’s a great feeling.

I love the cooperation I’ve been finding with folks at museums and interpretive centers and other venues. Of course, it helps when you call ahead and find a time suitable for both parties. It works wonders. Just popping in cold with no heads-up is a no-no in what I’m doing both for factchecking and selling books.


This was all made from plastic debris found on the beach.

I stopped at Washed Ashore in Bandon and dropped off the packet and took some photos. What they do with plastic debris found on the beaches is just incredible.

Then I dropped off books at WinterRiver Books in Bandon. One of my favorite bookstores on the coast.

At both bookstores I told about my new book that I hope to have ready by Christmas. And both Harold at Books on the Bay and Grover at WinterRiver thought it sounded like something that would sell. And Mari at Mari’s Books is also eager to see it. Getting a bookstore’s take on a future book is always a good idea, and preselling your next book never hurts.


Cape Arago Lighthouse.

Then I headed north and turned off on a back road to Sunset Bay State Park. I saw lots of logging in progress. I arrived a few minutes before 4 p.m. and the folks had just left Sunset Bay, so I headed to Shore Acres and caught the folks just as they were leaving. They will see that the packet gets to Sunset Bay. In my new book, I will be including the one spot along the coast to see the Cape Arago Lighthouse from your car and figured the folks next door at Sunset Bay State Park and/or the Coast Guard, who are in charge of the light, would be able to do some factchecking. I mailed the story to the Coast Guard before I left town.

Then I headed home. It had been a very successful day from my point of view.

As far as factchecking and photo acquisition, I have all the central coast stories either completed or in process and the south coast about halfway to that point. Next week I’ll continue the south coast and work on the north coast. I have a tentative trip planned to the Tillamook area next week. So the fun continues. I’ll keep you posted.




About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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1 Response to #221–On the road factchecking . . .

  1. Evelyn says:

    And, in your SPARE time? Anyone else, I would assume this post was an April Fool joke, but not you. You continue to amaze me, Ms. Energizer Bunny. May the Force Be With You. 🙂

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