Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bandon, Oregon - On The Coast

Driving into Oregon on I-5 we stayed at Bullard Beach State Park.  The weather was certainly different than we had expected with highs in the low sixties and lows in the fifties.  That wasn't so bad except most of the days by the coast it was raining and the skies didn't clear until late afternoon.  But we still had a good time and took some beautiful pictures.

The ocean was beautiful but very rugged.

This is Lucy after retrieving a stick from the cold waters.  Doesn't look too bad until you see the next picture.

This was Lucy riding a wave with the stick back to shore.  The two black specks in the white foam were Lucy's nose and the stick.

On another retrieve we noticed Lucy was being watched.  See the seal in the center of the jumped half out of the water to watch her as she swam back to shore.

And, of course, brave Max attacked as soon as she got her feet back on solid ground.
They call this town Bandon By The Sea and it is a wonderful place with lots of shops and restaurants.

Artwork by the pier carved from wood.  Behind the artwork are dragon pictures children created for a local contest. 

They had a small docking area for local boats.

Another piece of artwork by the docks.
This is the Coquille (CO QWILL) Lighthouse in Bandon.  The ocean is on one side and the Coquille River on the other.  Built in 1896, its beacon flashed every 30 seconds to guide boats safely across the shallow beach at the Coquille River.

Bandon, OR, from a distance.

The ocean shore had many rocks jutting out of the water.

A ship in the distance moving out to sea on a stormy looking day.

Some of the large rock formations on the beach.

This was just a little boulder on the beach.

It would be very easy to lose a ship out here if it wandered too close to shore.

We found these crab shells on the beach.  They were in colors of purple and beige and on the backs it looked like the imprints of the crab.

This is Cape Blanco Lighthouse further south on the Oregon coast.

It was a very remote area and the people who lived at the lighthouse (some for over 30 years) had few neighbors.  The closest was 3 miles away and the nearest town was Fort Orford which was an all day trip.

The lighthouse was on a bluff and one side of the ocean was very windy and active while the other side was warmer and more calm.

You can see the lighthouse in the upper left in the distance.

We stopped in Fort Orford for lunch at an eclectic little restaurant overlooking the ocean.  This rock outside is called Point Battle where the local Native Americans and the white explorers had a battle over territory.

Another day we drove up the coast through Coos Bay to the Sand Dunes National Recreation Area.  One of the things I noticed most about the Oregon coast was how green everything was and how many flowers and plants were in bloom.  Well, the Sand Dunes NRA sure doesn't look like it belongs with the rest of the coast but it is a very large and diverse area along the ocean.

Coos Bay, Oregon.

The McCullough Bridge by Coos Bay.

For anyone who loves driving around on ATVs or off-road vehicles, this is the place to come.

Granted, visibility wasn't the greatest............

.....but it didn't stop the 'boys'.  Actually, Brett saw one girl, too, but when I looked at her I thought she had a goatee.

The wetter and messier, the better.

RVs with toy haulers were everywhere.  In the town outside the park there were more RV parks than I've ever seen in one area.

Some of the campers were even driving on the dunes. 

We also took a drive to the Golden and Silver Falls State Park.  This isn't that far away from the Sand Dunes State Park but what a difference.

It felt like you were walking through a rain forest.

Lush plantings everywhere.

We hiked up to the Silver Falls.

Very picturesque.

Moss was hanging from the trees as we climbed to the Golden Falls.

The water was bursting from the rock formation.

This large tree was teetering on the edge.

A view of the Golden Falls from the bottom.

We thought this tree looked quite odd with all the different sections to the trunk.

While on the coast we drove to Cape Arago.

It also had a lighthouse.

Looking at the rocks on Simpson's Reef we noticed some action.

As you look closer you can see a huge colony of sea lions basking in the sun. 

We walked down to the shore to check out the reef area.

The tide was out so we were able to walk a good distance out into the ocean.

In amongst the reef were starfish and other living things waiting for the tide to come back in.

The starfish were orange or this lovely purple tone.

I think this is a sea urchin.

Here was a crab hiding out in the rocks and grasses on the reef.
The dangerous reefs off Cape Arago.

We also drove to Port Orfords Head to check out the U.S. Coast Guard Museum. 

This is a mid-engined, self-righting, self-bailing 36 foot motor lifeboat that came into use in the 1930's to rescue boats in distress in the Pacific Ocean.  It was used until the 1980's when the Coast Guard switched to helicopters.  It could rescue 20 survivors with a crew of 3-8 within a 260 mile cruising radius.  It was built in Curtis, Maryland for  $23,133.

This is where the Coast Guard kept their boats on Port Orfords Head that were used for rescue.  The bay has a brick wall built into the rocks to keep the waves away.  You can see the remainder of the blocks that were used where the boats were launched.
Inside the museum we saw some neat things including this dog tag machine the Coast Guard used to make identification for the servicemen.

There was also a display of the tools used in those days for felling trees.

I thought this picture showing the felling of a large tree was amazing.  The work was so wonder everyone was so thin in those days.
More photos of the ocean as we walked along a trail.

Once again we spotted a colony of sea lions.

This close-up shows its face.  Isn't he cute! 

There were many sea lions lying around on the rocks of Port Orfords Head, OR.

Fishing boats were plentiful at the wharf in town.

All the boats were pretty beat up looking but looked operational.  We think the orange balloon type things hanging on the side were to mark traps they drop into the ocean. 

And that's it from the sometimes sunny, sometimes not, Oregon coast for this week.  We will be here again but further north on our travels.  Next stop is inland to see Crater Lake and according to the weather report it will be warmer and sunny.  Peace !

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