It wasn’t long before the sun was out again hip hip hooray!
Longing for a walk we stopped at Heceta Head and walked up to the lighthouse and on up a trail behind the lighthouse for a better look at the light and for a drop dead gorgeous coastal panorama. It is a beautiful day!
Trail to the beach
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse Keepers House
Next stop was Cape Perpetua where we hiked down to some tide pools, not much activity there other than the crashing waves; we continued along the coastal trail. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous day!
Rain, Rain, Rain, more rain, we are done with rain and have decided to turn back north and work our way home, hoping for a few sun breaks along the way. This has been a very wet trip and we’ve decided to cut out losses and head north toward home. We drove in the rain until Bandon when the sun came out; we stopped for lunch at the Creamery and then walked through town soaking up the sunshine before continuing on to Florence.
We had a fabulous meal in Florence at the Waterfront Depot, a small restaurant on the riverfront, starting with crab stuffed mushrooms, filled with sweet Dungeness crab on a creamy dill sauce, delicious! George ordered a Dungeness crab Caesar salad that was piled high with crab and I had crab encrusted halibut on a bed of chili cream sauce, the best halibut I’ve ever had. As if that wasn’t rich enough we had dessert, a slice of tres leches cake. We waddled back to our hotel and collapsed.
Rain is forecast all day, a good time to do laundry so after a leisurely Easter Brunch in the van we headed into Brookings to look for a Laundromat and found a nice one, clean, plenty of machines and not too busy. It became quickly obvious that we don’t frequent Laundromats, first we couldn’t figure out how to get the washer door open – a woman came to our rescue and yanked it open saying you have to pull really hard. A bit embarrassed we loaded our clothes, were able to find the change machine and soap on our own and hit all the right buttons to get it going then sat down to read while the clothes washed.
When it came time to dry there were many choices and admittedly I don’t have an advanced degree in machine operation so managed fumbled through with the assistance of another nice local who took pity on the poor city girl. I loaded the clothes into one of the upper dryers but the money in the slot for the lower dryer, that’s when she came to my assistance, pointing out the arrows – head smack! Clothes moved to the right dryer I selected the temperature and pushed the only button I saw but the dryer wouldn’t start so I pushed it again, nothing. I checked to make sure I had deposited the correct amount of money, I had. So I continued to push the same button with the same result, nothing. Once again the woman came to my assistance and showed me the well-labeled “start” button I had somehow totally missed and said something nice like “it’s hard to see” . . . bless you my friend. Who knew laundry was so complicated.
It was all too much for me and by the time we finished it was 3:30 p.m. and we were hungry. I googled restaurants in Brookings and found two that sounded good and near by. The first one was closed for a private party but the other was right next door and it was open. We were welcomed, and seated near the window, it was small and there was only one other couple in the restaurant and a young boy sitting at the bar, the owner’s son.
The owner/chef was very nice and had a wonderful, sophisticated menu; we were both sorry that we weren’t hungry enough for a full dinner. We ordered two appetizers, a mushroom crostini topped with a mushroom ragout and herbed ricotta and a drizzle of pesto that was absolutely delicious and a grilled chili lime shrimp appetizer equally delicious.
The chef kept checking on us to see how we were doing and how we liked each dish – we liked his food very much and only wished there was a restaurant this good near home. The appetizers were quite satisfying but we split a Cobb salad that was also very tasty with a light balsamic dressing. The waitress talked us into a house made crème brûlée, the best I have ever had and we left with full bellies and no regrets! This is a really fantastic little restaurant in a small coastal town, totally unexpected; the food is big city 5-star quality. Our hats are off to the young owner/chef and his wife, Rob and Kylie Krebs. Stop by if you ever travel through Brookings, you will not be disappointed.
By the time we were ready to head out the sun was shining and we were feeling really lucky to possibly have another glorious day on the coast. We walked down to Bullards Beach, about 1 mile from the campground; a large dune separated us from the ocean. Climbing to the top we saw men along the shore fishing, some even catching and the lighthouse to the south on the Coquille River.
Bullard Beach Trail
Leaving the campground we drove south to the lighthouse for quick look before leaving the Bandon area but first . . . a stop at Face Rock Creamery, a devilish place with outrageously good homemade ice cream, the smallest cup $2 and too much for one person to eat. They also have a love deli where we ordered a cheese Panini with some of their fresh aged cheddar, sinfully good! The also sell a nice selection of Oregon wines, handmade sausages, many cheese made on site and an array of tempting jams, jellies and picnic fare. This is a dangerous place but one I would highly recommend if in Bandon, if for nothing else than the ice cream.
Just south of town we diverted to a residential area just to poke around and we found an area with a Cliffside trail along the Bandon headlands, overlooking a beautiful beach. It was cold and windy but a really nice walk. The trails also lead down to the beach but we stayed up on top feeling too full to climb the steep hill after our lunch.
Leaving Bandon behind the drive south along the coast highway to Brookings took us through Samuel H. Boardman seashore, a beautiful area of offshore sea stacks, secluded white sand beaches and forested hiking trails, a really love stretch of coastline.
Arriving at Harris Beach State Park we found the entire front of the park had been devastated by the wind storm; most of the trees were down along the ocean side; the park was open but a massive clean up was underway. Even though it was Saturday we found a campsite, it was a little too close to the road and a bit noisy but we weren’t about to be picky and it did quiet down after dark.
After dinner we walked down to the beach to wait the sunset, sometimes spectacular in this park. Tonight it was beautiful but not what I would call spectacular. We got in a lot of walking today, about 5 miles so should sleep well tonight.
Sunset at Harris Beach
Sunset at Harris Beach
We awoke to glorious sunshine and blue sky . . . can it last all day? By the time we had finished breakfast it was raining so we relaxed and had another cup of coffee. The squall passed and the sun reappeared oh joy! The rangers arrive in force to the next campsite, uh oh are we in trouble? No, they were here to cut down a tree that was leaning over the evacuation trail we had walked yesterday, we knew the one he was talking about and were reassured it would be gone by the end of the day.
Today’s excursion was to retrace our steps north to Coos Bay and then out to Shore Acres State Park, the estate of timber baron, Simpson. On the way we stopped at Sunset Bay a beautiful little secluded cove, and today very not crowded. We watched the rollers come in for some time and back at the car talked to a local who was getting ready to surf. He was a very friendly fellow, having lived here since the age of 13, now 63. He and George struck up a conversation about aging and staying fit and then he asked some rather pointed questions that I felt were a little creepy. We tried to retreat to the van but he was happy to keep talking. It was a little awkward but that’s probably just our “city paranoia”.
Not far from Sunset Bay is Shore Acres State Park, an absolutely beautiful piece of property perched on a cliff above the sea with magnificent gardens, something blooming for every season. Today the azaleas were at peak, daffodils and tulips were still showing lots of color but waning and the camellias and rhodys were just blossoming. We walked the whole garden, down the trail along the headlands and down to Simpson Beach, trying to imagine what it would be like to have THIS as your front yard.
Leaving the gardens we continued on to Simpson Reef a short distance, pulled off and as soon we exited the car we could hear the sea lions out on the reef, they were easy to spot.
It had been a full day and a full day of sun, glorious!!! We had to stop at the market in Bandon for some supplies and . . . the Creamery where George ordered a child’s size cup of ice cream (it was huge). I opted for some aged sharp cheddar and St. Augur blue cheese – perfect for appetizers.
We awoke to a little sunshine but the forecast does not look promising, we are still facing more rain, I cannot tell you how tired I am of rain! Along with the stressful I-5 driving the scenery is mind-numbing so we decided despite the weather to head for the coast, maybe not the best decision but at least the scenery is better. Decision made, we relaxed and enjoyed watching two ospreys busily building their nest in a field on the edge of the campground; they kept us entertained through breakfast. The Twin Rivers Park sits on the Umpqua River and just outside the gate a lovely city park runs a fair distance along the river with picnic tables, a covered picnic shelter, volleyball area, play area, a swimming area along a gentle stretch of the river and wide open grassy areas.
Guardian of Twin Rivers
Back on the road toward the coast it didn’t take long before the rain started again; it was short lived. Most of the ride from Roseburg to Bandon was rain-free. To my delight we spotted one covered bridge along the way and had to stop for a photo, I love Oregon’s covered bridges.
Sandy Creek Bridge
By the time we reached the coast the sun was out and so were we, out of the van that is, parking along the waterfront of Bandon to walk the docks and soak up the sunshine. We had lunch at the Fish Market, a small but busy little restaurant on the dock, fresh salmon for George and fresh cod for me, yum, yum!
Bike Art in Bandon
Tomorrow we will visit the Shore Acres Park north about 30 miles so booked two nights at Bullard’s Beach State Park. One loop was closed due to damage from the windstorm. We did walk the “Evacuation” trail (in case of tsunami) near our campsite, a nice forest hike to a high point above the campground. In the afternoon we sat out and enjoyed the sun on our faces, this has been a good day.
Light rain off and on last night, our towels are not drying but we stay warm in the van with the heater “on call” 24/7. In the campground they are still cleaning up after the Friday storm and the sounds of chain saws fill the forest, as we get ready to leave camp.
It was a terrible drive today, rain and wind, rain and wind, rain and rain and rain . . .
We finally gave up in Roseburg had a wonderful lunch at Brix and then headed out to a campground not far from town.