posted from notes, much later than actual trip.
Woke up to news of snow east of the Cascades in September. Earlier each year we travel now. Temperatures along the coast, have been in the 40's most nights now. Electic heater is a welcome little unit. As you progress along the coast, many scenic turnouts and hiking trails are easily taken advantage of. The high points offer sweeping vistas stretching for miles to the next horizon and out to sea. Located 12 miles (19.3km) north of gateway to the interior Florence is Heceta Head lighthouse 205 feet above the ocean. It's big beautiful, original, Fresnel First Order lens, and visited daily by tourists. Visible at 21 miles (34km), it is the brightest light on the Oregon Coast and open for limited tours daily.
Winchester Bay Salmon Harbor no utilities on the parking lot near restroom and showers, but $11 dollars is welcome for each night. Their many main campgrounds are various prices.
Ungers Bay Fish and Chips on pretty Cassie's little barge at T Dock, is great. Cassie Smith works from 11am to 8pm, fixing "the best fish on the bay". A romantic dinner cruise, surrounded by happy, contented wild ducks, without leaving smooth water.
After setting up 'coach' for the stay, we Jeep back north to visit and shop at the small villages like Gardiner, stopping at other scenic stops and harbors along this coast. Do not miss experiencing the huge sand dunes along this 40 mile beach. Their dense Conifer forests growing out of the 6000 year old mountains of sand are amazing. This is an ATV/OHV paradise, rentals and motels cater to the 'sand runners'. Night camping with nearby facilities, on the park sand, just west of the marina, is free and very popular.
Several other State Parks are available for camping as well. The still commissioned, Umpqua Lighthouse and State Park with it's interesting history is a must see at the U.S. Coast Guard Station, especially at night. It's beautiful red and clear, first Order Fresnel, rotating lens is unique It once floated on a basin of liquid mercury, driven by a wound clockwork mechanism, as were many rotating beacons of the past. View it in the predawn mist or late evening for the best effect of it's sweeping brilliant beam.
The large fishing boats 'Grizzly' (at sea) and 'Ocian' ( to left), go to the waters of Alaska to fish. This peaceful harbor view is from our bedroom window. 'Valorous' is now being restored after 4 years of neglect, it's previous owner died in his sleep at 55. It's new owner is in the process of re-rigging her from a Bering Sea, Aleutians long liner, to a fishing rig using it's long outriggers. The crew from the Ali J is helping. Names like 'Dock Holiday', L Affair, Pier Pleasure, Div Ocean, Highland Fling, P&L Statement, adorn the craft in the harbor.
Trip along the coast south to Coo's Bay is again filled with scenic turnouts and hiking trails. North Bend is the site of The Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge The entrance to Coo's Bay. Conde McCullough was the master Engineer behind most of coastal highway 101's beautiful bridges built in the 1930's. The 'North Bend' of the Harbor is the location of The Old Mill Casino. Park overnight free and visit the casino or head out to Charleston, Empire and Cape Arago for sightseeing. Or park on the developed area with full hookups, and enjoy the harbor action. The dredges are working with the huge barges being filled. The tugs pull and push the loaded barge out to the ocean for off-loading and return. This is a continuous job with the task being repeated at approximately 3 year intervals for each harbor, all up and down the coast. DREDGING Hulu 40 min Modern Marvels
An afternoon seeing the Cape Arago and former site of Louis Simpson's Shoreline Estate and Shore Acres Gardens The $3 dollar fee is well spent to visit the flower garden and scenic overlooks. Trails are abundant, as is the history of the former Oregon timber, shipping, and real estate father and son barons, as they developed this part of Oregon, creating thousands of jobs. The Simpson's lived in this 'garden House' while lumber from a shipwreck on the shoreline below, was salvaged to build a new home on this bluff, after the original was destroyed by fire.
The lava fingers clawing their way to the surface from the ancient sandstone strata, is also captured in this closer image.
Cape Arago with it's Lighthouse (not accessable) rocky shoale, alive with many types of seals and seal lions is also a 'do not miss'. Artists and Photographers love this overlook. Winter storms as shown on the post cards, must be breath taking to watch. The storms even rise above the high bluffs towering over the shoreline, to decimate the forest at times.
The beautiful, wild, scenic Oregon Coast is by Law, not allowed to be developed. Lawyers are endlessly trying every trick in their arsenal to circumvent this law. I Pray for their failure.
At any given time, hundreds of bicyclists and motorcyclists from all over the world are on this scenic route, endlessly touring year around. Their rigs are little trailers to single units or packs of riders. Even the big 'Switzerland' truck and trailer rig headed to Alaska then down the coast all of the way to Patagonia. We often stay overnight at the same camp spots, catching them from day to day.
The Coquille River lighthouse decommissioned in 1939, replaced by more efficient navigation aids, then restored as an interpretive center in 1979, is 2 miles (3.2km) north of the litle scenic harbor village of Bandon Bullards Beach State Park is nearby.
Open to tour Cape Blanco Lighthouse is the southernmost of the nine Oregon Lighthouses and it's state park is nearby.
Port Orford further south, is in a large natural bay, protected from the north storms. The views back toward the north, from the high mountain highway 101 turnouts are always worth stopping for.
Humbug Mountain State Park is another hidden jewel, a little further south, just under the highway 101 bridge. The shoreline access is good from this area. We have hiked this coastal beach on previous trips.
Gold Beach is the final resting place of the Mary D Hume
an over 100 year old ocean going ship with a colorful past, Deathlocked in a lawyers joy of litigation (lawyers got her money), now rotting into the shoreline near the small Rogue River Jet Boat tourist area, not far from where it was originally built. The little cafe at the farther end of the dock, had a great meatloaf lunch special for $6.95 on the day we stopped near the Mary Hume. Just north of Gold Beach, another Highway 101 bridge hides an old remnant of a ship hull partially embedded into the shore on the southwest side of the bridge. Look closely, it is hard to spot. Another 'lawyers' victim?
Harris Beach State Park with its scenic overlooks and beach access, is just north of Brookings. We have tried to get a campsite on the scenic front row, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Good luck with trying to get reservations.