September 1 - 3, 2014:
A good RV rule is stay off the roads on holidays, such as Labor day, we knew that but did it anyhow. So many RV's are on this Oregon coast and along with the boaters and the ATV crowd, it's crazy. The Oregon coast between Florence and Coos Bay, about 50 miles, is a giant sand dune area and play box for the ATV crowd. We took a ride out into the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area near Florence before leaving and watched a few young maniacs blasting up and down this steep sand dune. There are sand machines of all types, sizes and price ranges and it is another whole sporting sub culture. We then drove to a more serene area, parked along the beach, walked up over the high dune and onto a magnificent beach.
|A tough walk over the dunes to a huge beach|
|ATV's blasting up the sand dune|
|This kid was doing wheelies uphill with ease|
The ride was uneventful to the Mill Casino in North Bend, Oregon passing thru several small picturesque coast towns. The Mill Casino has a very nice full hookup campground along with a huge dry camping area. The dry camping area originally was free, but they now charge $15 a night. The full hookup campground is pretty filled so I think in their case it made good business sense. I can see many of the big Casino's doing this in the future.
|This cute woman was a legendary Bootlegger in the area,|
an amazing story
The road coming into North Bend Oregon goes over another great Conde McCollough designed Bridge, then you pass under a classic "North Bend" entrance sign. Downtown North Bend has a rather interesting, historic downtown area and a dock area with a newly redone boardwalk area. We haven't been impressed much by the Oregon boardwalks, nice scenic views perhaps, but they don't even qualify as boardwalks by New Jersey shore standards.
|The Coos Bay Bridge|
|The North Bend welcome sign|
|The French after WWII gave each US state a "gratitude Train car",|
this was the one given to Oregon that is located in North Bend.
Wonder why North Bend ?
|Mural in downtown North Bend|
|In a antique shop window, I can relate|
|Nice North Bend Boardwalk sign|
On Tuesday morning it was time to explore the city of Coos Bay. Coos Bay is only a couple of miles further down route 101 south and is about twice the size of North Bend. The two cities combined are the largest urban area on the Oregon coast. Coos Bay also has a boardwalk with an old Tugboat, harbor views and historical signs. Coos Bay in it's prime was the largest lumber port on the coast. North Bend and Coos Bay are both situated on Coos Bay which leads (15 miles) to the Ocean and the channel is maintained for large ocean going vessels. Coos Bay also has a interesting downtown with several buildings on the National Register and a classic Egyptian theater that is under restoration.
|Historic Tioga Hotel in Coos Bay|
|Historic Chandler Hotel in Coos Bay|
|Historic Koos No 2 Tug Boat on Coos Bay Boardwalk|
|A current Tug or Tow Boat at Coos Bay dock|
|The Egyptian Theatre|
|Egyptian Theatre sign, Twinkles confirms that this is the|
After checking out a quilt store in downtown, we head to Charleston on the coast passing by what seemed like a thousand road signs for fresh Tuna. Charleston is a serious fishing town with mountains of Oyster shells.
|I liked this boats name|
|I liked this one to, Oregon Promise, but it appears|
that it's days of promise have passed
|A huge mound of Oyster shells|
A few miles outside of town is the Bastendorff Beach County Park where we took a walk along a jetty to the beach with raging surf. They allow you to boondock on this beach area for 24 hours according to the sign, not sure if it is enforced, as we saw a couple of campers who looked permanent.
On Tuesday evenings, Coos Bay holds concerts in their Mingus park where they have a nice stage set and good viewing area. It was well attended, appeared that most of the local folks were there for a band called Copper and the Jam. The female vocalist is a native of Coos Bay, obviously well known and quite good, very entertaining, but not my style of music. Lots of interesting people watching though and few good photos.
|The stage and band|
|A pretty nice concert setting, not Red Rocks, but decent|
Wednesday morning I went to a shoe store in Coos Bay, a locally owned independent store will good quality stuff. I needed new sandals and wanted Keen's that they had in stock. The salesman /store owner was a hoot, he started showing us literature on the new Keen Sandal that will be available next spring, a unique design that could be the new cool shoe to wear. It was great, this stuff doesn't happen in the chain type stores.
On the street in front of the shoe store was the Wednesday Coos Bay's farmers market which was one of the best we have seen, anywhere ! We bought fresh strawberries which we thought was really special in September.
After the shopping spree, off to the coast again stopping at all the scenic viewpoints from Sunset Bay State Park to Cape Arago State Park. We did a short hike near Shore Acres State Park along the edge of the headland well above the ocean. The view was spectacular with the huge pounding surf on the rocks below. Shore Acres State Park was the site of a summer retreat built by Louis J. Simpson in the early 1900's. Simpson inherited a Lumber and Ship building business empire, became one of the most prominent people of the area, mayor of North Bend, and even ran for Governor of Oregon. The original house burned down and he didn't fare well in the 1929 stock market crash. The property eventually was taken over by the state. The Botanical gardens there were a major surprise.
|This tree probably won't be in many future photos|
|The Oregon coast is beautiful and wild|
|Fascinating to watch the power of the surf|
|Most unusual rocks formations in the Sandstone|
|Sea life exposed at low tide|
|The Botanical Gardens at Shore Acres Park|
|Hundreds of yelping Seals and Sea Lions out on this|
Island at Simpson Reef viewing area
|Around every bend is another vista like this|
|Twinkles would not climb inside for me|
The Tsunami warning and evacuation route signs here are a bit unsettling to me after our conversation with the civil defense volunteer back in Astoria. If and when the big one occurs, it is going to be a horrific event.
|At any time ?|
|These signs are at every beach area|
I can't believe the summer is ending, but if we keep going south it could be an (almost) endless summer. Our plan is to move south and east across Oregon to Nevada to Utah to New Mexico and Arizona, keeping just ahead of the cold until we reach our winter sabbatical on December 1st in Tucson, Arizona.
Next stop is Gold Beach, Oregon:
Twinkles and Slick