Originally published 27 December 2014
Just another view in Oregon. Vistas like this are common.
We headed out of our hotel at first light this morning, and had breakfast in Yachats at The Drift Inn. I had steak and eggs with home made biscuits and Laurie had a dungeness crab omelet which was to die for. We've had a couple of crappy dinners on this trip but breakfasts have been pretty good. Today was superb.
It was gray and misty, kind of like Scotland. This is not an uncommon situation here....but it won't slow us down. We always use the rally racing acronym POR, which stands for "press on regardless"....and we always do. Lucky for us, it wasn't necessary today! The predicted rain didn't occur and we had a dry day!
Our first stop was "The Devil's Churn", a small inlet with crashing waves running up a fissure in the bedrock. It wasn't that spectacular, but we studied the trees on the hillside around it. The trees and vegetation are all bent towards the hill, a product of a lifetime of wind coming from the sea.
The trees were formed by their environment. If they were rigid and unyielding, the pressure would have eventually broken them....but they were flexible, and lived a long life. There may be a lesson in there somewhere.......
On the trail to Heceta Lighthouse.
We move around the hillside to the Heceta Head Lighthouse. It's about a half mile hike up to the lighthouse, but easily doable. Getting out and moving is actually better for my knee than sitting and resting....so we did a little hiking today. I have to be careful over rugged terrain though. I'm sure a fall would twist something in a way that isn't healthy for me.....so I go slow.
Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
The lighthouse is on a bluff in a grove of trees. Like much of Oregon, it's one of those gorgeous places that falls off into the pacific. The hike up was fraught with wonderful views, and when we reached the top, we were rewarded with a genuine working (as in the light was lit) lighthouse! The view from the lighthouse wasn't too shabby either, as we watched the seals play in the ocean below.
Heceta Head Lighthouse, from afar.
After the lighthouse, we drive maybe a mile. We want to try and shoot a photo back at the lighthouse up on the bluff. At the bottom of the cliff we are on, are literally hundreds of sea lions and seals. They winter here and rest on the rocks, eat, mate, fight, and play. There were so many it was difficult to tell them from the rocks at times! We watched them for a while, and went about 1/4 a mile and stopped at a local tourist attraction called "The Sea Lion Caves".
Entering the sea lion caves
It is an attraction that has been around since 1932, but has evolved a bit. You no longer have to go down a huge set of stairs, but get to ride in a nice stainless steel elevator. They charge you 14 dollars for the ride. Some may think it's worth it, some may not. I do know that we liked it.
Hundreds of sea lions
We got off the elevator and were greeted by the smell of fish and seal crap. We quickly got over this as the cave itself was pretty interesting! There were around 300 sea lions or seals in the cave when we were there....and they were educational to watch.
The cave also had a view back to the lighthouse. I stood at this cave entrance looking back towards the lighthouse, with the trees and mountain falling off into the ocean, a waterfall, seals, and the pacific itself. People travel to see the ocean. They travel to see the mountains, the trees, a waterfall, or wildlife. They will travel to see any one of these...and all five are right in front of me. It's one stop shopping here...that's for sure!
We continue down route 101, and stop at a store common here, called "Fred Meyer" for something simple we can eat as we travel. We thought it was a grocery store....which it is. It also had an electronics department, a jewelry department, apparel, footwear, and a few other departments as well. We got soup for lunch, some fresh fruit, gas for the car, and postage stamps for Laurie's post cards. One stop shopping once again! They are an efficient bunch.
Coquille River Lighthouse
We drive down the coast and find ourselves in a part of Oregon that is different than everywhere we've been. The cliffs are gone, and there are sand dunes along the coast. The little beach towns have given way to gritty old logging towns. It's different.....not bad but different.
We make a few stops at the beaches in this stretch. Laurie is fascinated by the driftwood washed up. The lighthouses are river inlet lighthouses and aren't as pretty or breathtaking as the others. Like the towns, the scenery is decidedly blue collar, with flat beaches and murky rivers pouring into the ocean. We find ourselves skipping places as we have a set amount of time and these places just aren't that breathtaking. We pick up the pace and continue to head south, to what we hope is something more appealing.
Driftwood at Coquille River
We're running out of light and know it. But a few more miles down the road the scenery changes rapidly and we're back to stunning and spectacular. Haystack rocks and crashing waves abound. We're driving along cliffs far above the ocean where we can see for miles in either direction. We decide to make our last stop of the day and take a walk on the beach.
Sundown on the Pacific
The beach is strewn with driftwood and stones. On the east coast, a stream will feed into a river or sound, then into the ocean. Here, a freshwater stream runs directly into the Pacific ocean. A young family has taken the kids and dog to the beach for a walk. There are stone totems on the beach and Laurie tries her hand at building one. All of this occurs as we watch the sun sink into the ocean. I enjoy just looking around and taking all this in. It's getting dark and we need to go.
River inlet beach, Oregon
We continue south and cross into California. We stop for the night in Crescent City. This kind of a gritty lumber and fishing town, but is very near the next thing we want to see. We have a superb dinner (for once) at a place called "The Chart Room".....a restaurant out on the wharf. I figured it would be really good or really bad. Having to wait for a table allayed these fears. Dinner was great and Laurie was so please to have steamed clams for an appetizer.
Tomorrow, the reason we stopped here and one of the things Laurie has constantly talked about seeing......the giant redwoods.
Welcome to California....and the end of our day!
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
Click on any day below to see our blog for that day!