Saturday (June 5) After a delicious farewell breakfast with Claudia and Bruce (yumm!) I left Harris Beach SP around noon and turned north on HWY101. I had about 110 miles of travel ahead of me and I planned to make a few scenic stops along the way.
Highway 101 follows the coastline with occasional stunning views of the ocean. As I drove past Meyers Beach I was reminded of the sights and sounds of walking on that beach a few days earlier.
My first scenic stop was Cape Blanco State Park. Just 9 miles north of Fort Orford, Cape Blanco SP includes a campground in the trees on a bluff and a lighthouse. The road out to the park area is a typical country road with occasional repair spots and some gravel stretches. It was windy on the bluffs overlooking the ocean. The lighthouse is a short walk from the parking lot. Tours were not available on this day, but the exterior was easily accessible.
Back on the road, I continued to Bandon, where I planned to eat some lunch/dinner (linner?). Bandon has a cute “old town” area along the waterfront. I walked into the Fish & Chips Chowder House and ordered….fish & chips and chowder. (It was tasty, but Brookings’ Hungry Clam Cafe still holds the title of “best chowder” for me. I’m sure I’ll continue to verify that on this trip). The meal was substantial, so I packed up the uneaten half for later.
Bandon Waterfront and Harbor
I checked out Google maps satellite view to be sure I could drive out to the local lighthouse and be able to turn around with my trailer. The lighthouse is located on a point, past the Bullards Beach State Park campground. The beach area was active with beachcombers, kite-flyers and families. And yes, there was room to turn around with my trailer.
The Coquille River Lighthouse near Bandon
After some rock-hopping around the lighthouse, I continued to Sunset Bay SP near Coos Bay, Oregon and checked into my campsite. Sunset Bay SP campground is a little rustic, the restroom and shower facilities are dated yet functional. The campground is well appointed with trees and has great access to the coastline. My campsite is a bit funky with the firepit and picnic table situated on the same side as the hookups.
As sunset was approaching I drove over to the lighthouse lookout spot. This makes three lighthouses in one day. The lighthouse here is located in the distance on Gregory Point, so the best views of it are from a few shoreline viewpoints. With a long lens + 2x teleconverter, I was able to get a pretty good photo of the lighthouse.
Cape Arago Lighthouse
I followed a trail along the edge of bluff and learned that it would occasionally open up for another great view of the pounding surf. In many spots, I was startled by the sheer drop-off with no railing. That made the view even more exciting!
Inspired by the great lighting and views, I continued on. This turned into an accidental long hike, since the trail just kept going. Every opening revealed another stunning view of the late (and later) evening oceanfront.
At some point I began to wonder if the trail would loop around to the road or if I’d have to turn around and follow it back. I followed my intuition and continued forward until I found the main road, and eventually my car.
Note to self: check out a trail map before walking off into the woods!
I returned to the campground and happily settled into my trailer for the night
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