On August 5th we left the California Redwoods behind and drove up the Oregon Coast. There were no national parks or big tourist draws, just nice scenery and lots of ocean views. We drove through Gold Beach and Port Orford. At Coos Bay we stayed one night at the Mill Casino RV Park and robbed that casino of $17.50 in winnings!
The next day we soldiered north again, hugging the coastline on Hwy. 101. We stopped for a couple of nights at Coyote Rock RV park behind Siletz Bay, on the river. We were invited to get in on the fresh crab action as someone knew someone down at Depoe Bay who had just hauled in a catch, but we declined. Besides, we have nothing to boil crab in, and these were big crabs! Dungeness. The next day we drove to Depoe Bay and had some awesome clam chowder at the Bay Walk Cafe. Actually, we ate their twice. The first time we got a small cup to go, then continued strolling the street. Later, after visiting the whale watching center and the rest of the shops, we stopped back by for lunch which included a nice bowl of the chowder. Delicious!
We also watched someone processing buckets of crabs. He had it down to a science, whacking the carapace off with usually just one blow, then tossing the body onto a stainless steel table. After he had about two dozen crab bodies on the table, still slowly wriggling in their death throes, he washed them off and tossed them into a large pot to boil. Fascinating. And yet having a job like that would probably be my worst nightmare…
Later that day we drove back south of town and stopped at the Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park. This geographic feature is just a large hole in the rocks which empties at low tide but fills with angry, swirling water at high tide. There are several small gift shops and a winery here. The winery’s claim to fame is that all of their wines are fermented in open-top fermenters, with access to the sea salt air. Dixie did a tasting and liked their wines just fine!
After that, we continued south and saw a sign and exited the highway to do something we had been intending to do ever since we first got to the Pacific: see a lighthouse! The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is run by the BLM, so our Access Pass got us in for no fee. (side note: we have saved over $200 this year on that pass!) This lighthouse has been in continuous operation since 1873, even during a long restoration from 2005-6, which included new glass panes and ironwork and paint. Staff are dressed in period costume (late 19th century) and we got to climb the large spiral staircase to the top! My mom has always had some sort of fascination with lighthouses, so I made sure I got some pictures.
The next day we said goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and headed east, back to civilization. We rejoined I-5 in Portland and headed north, entering Washington State and eventually settling in for a couple of nights at the Silver Cove RV park, anticipating a day at Mt. St. Helens.