Thursday, December 4, 2014

Highway 101 - Northern California / Southern Oregon... (Day 3)

Crescent City, CA to Charleston, OR

We headed out of Crescent City, CA early in the morning on our way for our 2 night stay in the small fishing village of Charleston, OR. Drive time from Crescent City to Charleston is only about 3 hours, but I wanted to see some of the things along the way. I realized there were so many to see in our time frame, so I made the "Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor" my main point of attraction for our 3rd day on the coast.
It is amazing~!

Hello from the Pacific Coast~!

(One of the many pics facebook got spammed with along the route)

We stopped first at a few pullouts along the highway by Brookings, OR.
Brookings is considered the gateway to the Oregon coast. It has some of the warmest temperatures along the coast. It was a beautiful day for our journey up the coast to Charleston. It wasn't cold, but it got windy in the afternoon.

You can access the coast line in this area from "Harris Beach State Park."

Harris Beach is named for Scottish Pioneer George Harris, who raised sheep and cattle in these parts. There isn't a high elevation above the coast here, but it's beautiful and wild just the same...

Even for it being  November, it was warm and mild.

Just North of Brookings, OR is where the Samuel H. Boardman State Park pullouts start. None of them are very big. None of them could accomodate high traffic population in peak season. I'm glad we are in off season. Being that we traveled this the week of Thanksgiving, at most pullouts we were the only ones there. We got to enjoy the beauty all to ourselves in a peaceful way.

Some of the pullouts didn't allow for any kind of 'tow behind trailer,' so we respected the road signs, even though it wasn't busy. Because of the towed vehicle restrictions and the fact that we had the horsetrailer with us made it so we didn't make it to all of the viewpoints.

I think we pretty much covered all of the beautiful views along the 12 mile stretch of shoreline though...

I just can't think of a more spectacular place for someone to first visit the Pacific coast...

There are beautiful views every direction we looked.

The sky was really starting to get overcast and the wind was starting to pick up. This was a beautiful place to be to watch the waves rolling in.

There are good maintained hiking trails and nice fenced off, protected areas to view the ocean from these State Park pullouts.

 I'm scared of heights and none of these viewpoints intimidated me, but I was not going by the edge with the wind gusting. I would have been terrified if I would have had children with me on this adventure. I think this is a trip for adults. I just don't think little ones would appreciate it's rugged beauty and it might be a bit dangerous. Children would need adult supervision at ALL TIMES. This road trip is best taken when kids are raised, in my opinion.

Myers Creek Beach was a great place to walk along the beach and just enjoy life.

We were back to shore level at Myers Creek Beach, it's right before Port Orford, OR...

I had planned in our itinerary to eat lunch in Port Orford, OR at a place called "The Crazy Norwegians Fish & Chips," but it was closed on the day before Thanksgiving when we traveled through and we weren't hungry. Our breakfast in Crescent City was more than enough. We planned to stop at the Port Orford dolly port, but the wind was raging. Did you know the Port of Port Orford is the only natural open-water port for 600 miles and only one of six "dolly" ports int he world. On the day before Thanksgiving, there wasn't much going on and no fishing boats being lifted in and out of the water.

We just drove down by the Port, to see what it looked like...

I had read on another blog that there is a sign on the main route in Port Orford that says, "Ocean Views." Actually, it's painted on a road on the West side of main street, right as you come into town. The blog I read said it was worth the short trip walking down a 'sandy path' to the water. It said you could see for miles along the coast here. We didn't go see. It was really windy and we were running a little delayed to get to Charleston and get checked into our room, so we just kept going...

From Port Orford to Bandon, OR is 26 miles. Bandon has an 'Old Town' area if you like shopping and it has a lot of beach areas. Bandon was rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1936 that destroyed its entire business district and most of its residences. We drove along "Beach Loop Drive" and stopped at a couple of the viewpoints and beach access areas.

The rock formations have names off of Beach Loop Drive. Table Rock, The Garden of the Gods, Elephant Rock, Cat & Kittens Rocks. The most famous is known as Face Rock. Local legend says that Face Rock is the face of an Indian maiden that was frozen into stone by an evil spirit...

"The Legend of Face Rock"
Many, many years ago, the legend begins from the Nah-So-Mah tribe. Chief Siskiyou, from the far moutains, traveled with his family and clansmen to the coast to trade with the four tribes who lived by the great sea they called Wecoma.
    In his honor, the four chiefs planned the greatest potlatch in all memory. They roasted bear, salmon, elk and deer. Huge quantities of clams and mussels were steamed. Cedar bark trays were filled with honey and red and blue huckleberries.
    The local tribes were all in great fear of Seatka, the evil spirit who lived in the sea. It was feared that Seatka might cause trouble for the people and their guest. Armed warriers stood guard on the bluff. However Princess Ewauna, the beautiful daughter of Chief Siskiyou, and those in her tribe who lived in the mountains were not afraid.
    Ewauna was enchanted by the sea. After the feast when people were sleeping, she slipped away from camp, carrying a basket with her cat and kittens nestled inside, followed by her faithful dog, Komax. She wandered down to the ocean where she danced and played with delight. 
    The moon was full and Wecoma ran silver. Ewauna, who did not fear Seatka, swam in the sea, farther and farther from shore. Komax barked a warning but it was too late. The evil Seatka had captured the beautiful princess. The dog, carrying the basket of kittens, swam to his mistress and buried his teeth in the hand of Seatka. Howling, he shook off the dog and threw the cats into the sea. Seatka tried to make Ewauna look into his eyes, but she refused to look away from the great round moon.
    When her father awoke, he raised the alarm. Everyone rushed to the shore of Wecoma. There they saw the lovely face of Ewauna gazing skyward. Her dog was on the beach howling for the princess and the cat and kittens were in the sea to the west. In time, they all turned to stone, frozen forever as they were that long ago dawn.

The area around Bandon reminded me of pictures I've seen of Maine - The whole landscape is different than what we had just seen.

All of this was a lot to see and enjoy in one day. We were trying to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

It's crazy how the landscape changes within just 20 miles. Cliffs to beaches - wind to calm. The ecosystems along this coastline are quite varied with their altitudes. Up every path, over every hill afforded a different, but still beautiful views.

It was a really windy afternoon. It didn't much bother me, because watching the waves come in was fascinating for me.

We did stop for a bit and scout around at "Merchant's Beach" for a sea shell, or something.
Gosh, it was green along this little beach.

 It's crazy, but we couldn't find anything all through this trip.No sea shells. Nothing at all on the beaches but sticks and seaweed.

We were trying to figure out how to get onto the "Bandon to Charlston" byway North of Bandon and took a wrong turn and happened upon the Coquille River Lighthouse. It was pouring on us and so, so windy, so I took a pic with my cell phone out of the windshield. That was a good `Wrong Turn" to make right to the steps of a lighthouse...

We took the "Seven Devils Road" from Bandon to Charleston. It is just a scenic byway up through the pine trees past many prior and ongoing logging jobs. That gave the "Man-Child" a thrill and we arrived in Charleston late in the afternoon...

Keep following as the adventure continues soon~!


  1. Beautiful! I liked the legend.

    1. I always plan things out - at least time wise. It's the backwash of being a dispatcher. I can almost plan to the minute where I'll be at. It isn't a bad thing. It's a good thing. Then I can squeeze in the most in the time allowed and not miss anything, or have to cancel anything. I guess, it's a realistic way to travel. No sense fooling myself on what time I had to see what. It makes it easier. And, I'm great at sticking to the schedule and knowing when to turn around - lol


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