This blog will record some of the trips we make throughout Oregon and other places.
We enjoy wandering off the beaten path whenever possible. Come wander with us!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Oregon Coast ~ December 13-16, 2009

We made a 'long weekend' trip to the Charleston area, with side trips as far north as Gardiner and as far south as Bandon.  We had good weather and bad weather, but we had a great time!

Santiam Pass
McKenzie Highway
Welcome Home, Nathan!
Umpqua River - Highway 38
Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area
David Dewett Veteran's Memorial
Conde B McCullough Bridge, Coos Bay
Charleston, Oregon
Campbell's Vacation Apartments
Shore Acres State Park
Shore Acres Christmas Lights
Charleston Harbor, December 14
Umpqua Lighthouse and the Umpqua River
Winchester Bay
Gardiner Cemetery

Reedsport and the Discovery Center

Cargo Ship in Coos Bay
Cape Arago Lighthouse
Bastendorf Beach
Sunset Bay
Cape Arago State Park
Coquille River Lighthouse
Christmas Trains and Villages ~ The Charleston Fire Department
 Last Morning in Charleston and the Seafarers Memorial

    Final Thoughts on Our Trip

    We made some fairly bad choices on some of our restaurant adventures - found most restaurants closed on the nights we were in town and had a fire prevent us from eating in one highly recommended restaurant, The Portside, in Charleston.  Fortunately, we were directed by the owner of The Portside to the Hilltop House. (see the map below) Hilltop House Restaurant & Lounge, 93405 Willsey Lane, North Bend, Cuisine: pacific northwest, steakhouse, seafood • 541-756-416.  It sits on the north side of the McCullough Bridge and has a magnificent view of the bay. 

    We stopped at the local cannery outlet and purchased some gift packs.  I wish we had gotten a take out shellfish dinner for ourselves while we were there instead of our restaurant choices --- next time!

    I had some difficulty with my new camera on the first day and managed to delete a days worth of pictures of the Umpqua River, which was very disappointing.

    I can't say enough about how magnificent Campbell's was to stay at!  Since we don't like the "hotel experience" and like quiet and privacy and a view, we could not have been more pleased.

    Traveling in winter has its own joys and problems.  For the most part the trade off in weather is made up for by the lack of crowds.  After all, you just dress warm and know that water won't cause you to melt.  Our last day was marred by heavy winds that were harder to work around.

    All in all, it was a wonderful trip!

    View Larger Map

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Charleston and the Seafarers Memorial ~ December 16, 2009

    Our last morning - early light on Charleston Harbor - view from our deck


    Charleston 'Lost at Sea' Memorial

    To the sea they turned for life
    To the sea they gave their lives.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Christmas Trains and Villages ~ The Charleston Rural Fire Department

    Christmas Trains and Villages
    at the Charleston Rural Fire Department

    We had the delightful experience of visiting the Christmas trains and villages display 
    at the Charleston Rural Fire Department.
    There was no cost, though we were delighted to leave a donation.
    There were warm drinks and cookies for all.
    A dozen trains choo-chooed around the many villages set up.
    It was a winter wonderland and absolutely a joy to see.
    If you are ever on the coast at Christmas, it is a must see for a bit of Christmas magic!

    This is their information:

    Coquille River Lighthouse ~ December 15, 2009

    Coquille River Lighthouse
    The lighthouse sits across the river from Bandon.
    It was deactivated in 1936
    It is open to the public and very interesting inside, and has just undergone a restoration.


     For more information and historic pictures, visit here:

    Bandon ~ December 15, 2009

    Bandon, Oregon
    The jetty on the Coquille River
    Bandon sits on the south side of the Coquille River

    Grey Pelicans!
    It is good to see them making such a comeback along the coast.

    This pelican was quite the model!

    We drove the Seven Devils Road from Charleston to Bandon.
    The area is more depressed than we have ever seen it.
    We honeymooned in Bandon and we were shocked at the change.
    The inland area is full of cranberry bogs, and they still seemed to be productive.
    Bandon has a charming Old Town and Harbor, where we had lunch.

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    Cape Arago State Park ~ December 15, 2009

    We drove all of the way out Cape Arago Highway.
    We had hoped to go to Shore Acres again and to wander around Cape Arago State Park,
    but the rain and incredible winds deterred us.
    The wind gusts were so strong that it would shake the car
    and we saw many downed trees.

    Sunset Bay ~ December 15, 2009

    Sunset Bay
    This is a snug little cove on the Cape Arago Highway - 
    between Charleston and Shore Acres State Park.
    Beautiful sandy beaches are a joy at this beach.
    It is an Oregon State Park with a very nice campground.

    We saw large flocks of grey pelicans

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    Bastendorf Beach ~ December 15, 2009

    Bastendorf Beach
    The weather was rainy and windy.
    In fact, I got blown off of a berm with one of the wind gusts.
    But, this looked like a very wonderful small beach area. 
    To our amazement, there were several surfers out in the water.

    On the drive to the beach we passed the former station of the Cood Head Air National Guard.
    The land is being cleared and turned over to the Indian tribes.

    Cape Arago Lighthouse ~ December 15, 2009


    Cape Arago Lighthouse  

    The Cape Arago Lighthouse if one of the Oregon Coast's many beautiful lighthouses.
    The lighthouse sits on an off shore island.  Unfortunately, it was deactivated on January 1, 2006.  It is not open to the public, and a close viewing place is difficult to find along the road.
     An excellent read on the Cape Arago Lighthouse can be found here:

    View Larger Map

    Cargo Ship Enters Coos Bay ~ December 15

    We were having coffee and enjoying the view, when we saw the tugboat and the Coast Guard cutters getting very active.  Out on the horizon, we saw the shadow of a huge Cargo Ship.  This once common site at the entrance to Coos Bay, once the busiest harbor in Oregon, is now an event.  Coos Bay has transformed the major docks into a casino, hotel and RV park.

    Tug Boat waiting for Cargo Ship



    If you look carefully to the right side of the picture, you can see the cutters escorting the ship.

    We drove up to the Coast Guard overlook (along with a great many people from town, who seemed to be watching the memory of what once was) to watch the ship come in.


    Later, we saw the Cargo Ship, which bore a Chinese registry, being loaded with wood chips.
    This once vibrant port for Oregon's wood products is a ghost of it's former self.