Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Gold Beach Oregon

September 4 - 6, 2014:

An 80 mile trip to Gold Beach Oregon with a stop enroute to the very nice town of Bandon.  Bandon has a the best boardwalk area so far in Oregon with many carved wood animals, local school artwork, historical information, Totem Poles, all kinds of stuff, almost to excess.  Also a marina, many restaurants, shops, cafes and a couple of bars.  The last 20 miles to Gold Beach became extra scenic with route 101 hanging on the edge of the headlands with many curves and long drops to the ocean far, far below.

Welcome to Bandon

How the west was won

Great wind sock on Boardwalk

View form a roadside pull off near Gold Beach

The Oceanside RV Park (where the Rouge River meets the Sea) was easy to find, just off route 101 as you enter Gold Beach.  The campground has the Rouge River on one side, the Ocean on the other and an airport on another side, kind of unusual.  Also it tends to be very windy and there seems to be a near constant fog horn blowing.  A nice RV Park, the WiFi actually works, nice bathroom/shower room facilities and Ocean and River views.  The ocean is a short walk away and very wild and rustic with piles of driftwood and logs.  I went for the sunset, saw a couple of Seals, lots of sea birds, good waves and a couple of surfers in the Rouge River. 

Harbor Seal surfing the waves

Beautiful drift wood covered beach

Loved the color of the waves as they were curling with
the sun shining through

A lone surfer
We then went to the visitors center for local information, then for a short drive south on route 101 stopping at a scenic pull off for an ocean view next to some huge rocks.  We walked down towards the beach and were sand blasted, so windy, we left rather quickly. Next a stop at a book store/cafe, which turned out to be one of the best book stores ever.  We were just at the Worlds largest book store in Portland, but this was one of the most interesting I thought.
There were a group of seniors sitting in the cafe expressing their various political beliefs and solving the world's problems, rather loudly, we got a coffee, sat down but didn't stay long. 

It looks calm, but the wind was ripping

Our impression of the town of Gold Beach is not so good, it's mostly poor looking, not much going on, the Jet Boat ride on the Rouge River seems to be the happening thing to do in town. The coast scenery, the Rouge River, the boating and fishing are what you come here for.  That said, there is a Brew fest on Saturday, we or I will check it out.

Main street Gold Beach

The Gold Beach story

A nice mural (only one) in Gold Beach

Another classic Conde McCollough bridge at Gold Beach

A foggy day on the coast kind of put a damper on our scenic hike and sightseeing on Friday.  We delayed our start by first going to "Jerry's Rouge Jets" to reserve seats for a river trip on Saturday and then visited their Rouge River museum.  It was a very interesting museum highlighting local history and the evolution of river running and guiding on the river. 

In front of Jerry's Jets in the Rouge River are the sad remains of an old wooden ship, the Mary D. Hume, that has been sitting there rotting away for decades now.  There is a sign nearby giving it's history that I found amazing. This ship was converted into a whaling boat and then went off for a record long 6 year voyage, had a record $400,000 baleen catch, surviving huge storms, multiple owners, a very long sea life.  It ended up back in Gold Beach, retired from service, where it was built.  The most incredible history and then allowed to sit there and rot away ? 

Mary D. Hume information

All that's left of the once proud ship

We then drove to Samuel Boardman State Park, stopping at Arch Rock, but could barely see it, then a couple other spots with similar results. It is a beautiful area, hope to see it in the clear, before we leave the area.   So, not much else to do, we stopped for lunch back in Gold Beach at "Barnacle Bistro" which was surprisingly very good.

Arch Rock shrouded in fog

Another foggy coast view

A weird mushroom along the trail

Mossy green branches along the coast

Barnacle Bistro

We have become fans of, possibly addicted to, a few food items on the west coast; Tillamook Cheese, Franz Bread and Umpqua Ice Cream.  The Franz bread outlet stores are really the greatest thing since, have to say it, sliced bread. The enormous quantity of micro breweries here are also incredible, but I am not a huge micro beer fanatic, can't pick a favorite and my buying is mostly based on names or labels that I like.  

We are at Jerry's Jets at 9 AM with multiple layers of clothes for a 64 mile Rouge River Jet Boat adventure on Saturday morning.  It is cold and foggy at our 9:30 AM departure  but it warms up and becomes more sunny as we travel inland.  The Boat pilot is quite a character, very fast talking with many corny jokes, but a few are in fact funny and some intelligent information is given.  The ride is beautiful up the river, but the river is pretty crowded with fisherman in the popular fishing locations.  Lots of birds, including several Eagles are seen and a Harbor Seal.  The Jet Boats are incredible, able to travel really fast upriver and able to get through sections that are only a few inches deep.  At the half way point, a lunch stop is taken for about an hour.  On the return trip when it is warmer, the pilot gives us more of a thrill ride with numerous 360 degree high speed spins which gets everyone wet.  It was a fun ride and if I lived here, I would want a boat as it is really fun to be on the river. 

Twinkles practicing on the toy boat

Going under the bridge

Fisherman landing a nice one

Rouge River view

After an hour rest, I am ready to go to the Gold Beach Art and Brew Festival at the fairgrounds.  Activities include several beer micro breweries, food vendors, a car show, local art work and eight bands performing on two stages. The breweries were very good, you were able to buy samples for $1 or a full pint for $4 and the food and music were good, but not great. 

Best band at the festival

These guys were OK too

Most popular thing at the festival was this Pizza vendor,
they couldn't make them fast enough
The Oregon coast has been great, a few more miles to go until we round the corner at the California border and start going  eastward.  

Next stop is Grants Pass, Oregon, still on the Rouge River:

Twinkles and Slick

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