Bandon, OR SEPT 9, 2018

We decided to leave Florence two days early because in our sightseeing travels we stumbled across a really great place to camp right near the beach. The price was certainly right at $12.50 a night with our America the Beautiful senior pass. IMG_4010

Horsfall Beach Campground, a national recreation area campground, was a great place with tall sand dunes. Only problem was they blocked the view of the ocean. We didn’t mind too much since great views of the beach was easily accessible just a short walk from our door. It is also a favorite place for ATV enthusiasts who enjoy racing up and down the dunes. IMG_20180907_142458IMG_3994IMG_3995IMG_3998IMG_4004

While we were there we drove thirty miles to the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area to see beautiful elk grazing in the meadows. IMG_4011IMG_4017IMG_4035IMG_4015IMG_4016

We certainly enjoyed our two days camping near the sand dunes!

On Sunday we moved further south to Bullards Beach State Park in Bandon, Oregon. We crossed over the beautiful Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge, built in 1936 and once the longest bridge along the coast. We can certainly see why Highway 101 is also called “The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway”. IMG_4045

We were last at Bullards Beach in 2014 and we enjoyed exploring the Bandon area once again. Located in the state park is Coquille River Lighthouse built in 1896.  Located adjacent to the river and lighthouse, it is only forty feet tall and was last operable in 1939. IMG_4053IMG_4047IMG_4055

We enjoyed visiting Old Town Bandon again where Bill returned to the same Bandon Fish Market from 2014 and had some fish and chips. Back in 2014 there was a wonderful bakery owned by an elderly couple and I was really looking forward to going back there. Sadly, it is now out of business. IMG_4052IMG_0614

Bandon is known as the “Cranberry Capital of Oregon” and its main export is cranberries. There is an Ocean Spray plant in Bandon  that receives, cleans and ships from 300,000 to 400,000 pounds of cranberries per day during the peak of the harvest season which is September through November. One interesting tidbit is that when some of the workers work in the bogs they walk on stilts to keep from crushing the berries. The whole process of planting to harvesting is quite fascinating but too detailed to go into on the blog.  We remembered seeing the cranberry bogs last time we were here in June, 2014 and they looked like this. IMG_0615

Don’t know whether it is the very dry weather or time of year, but this time they looked like this. IMG_4097

The beaches here are very popular with rock-hounds since they are strewn with agates, jasper and other semiprecious stones.  In recent years shifting sands have revealed the remains of sunken ships. More than hundred ships, including a 1918 steamship, have shipwrecked in this area.  In fact this area is known as the “Storm Watching Capital of the World”. The beaches with their amazing rock formation sometimes experience winds at hurricane force speed, hurtling sprays of water upon the rocks and shore, sometimes 200 yards straight up.  We could see the power of the ocean with the huge amount of driftwood that lay on the beaches. We read an article where a woman described how people go to the beach and build forts and structures out of the driftwood to be enjoyed during the spring, summer and fall, knowing it will all be destroyed by the winter storms. IMG_4051

One day we drove the scenic Beach Loop Drive, stopping at one of our favorite places we remembered from our last visit called Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint. Here you can see a rock in the shape of a woman’s face. IMG_4068There is a legend to go with Face Rock which was first told by Old Indian Mary, a member of the Coquille Native American tribe.  Legend has it that Seatka, an evil spirit of the ocean, caused all the storms that blew up and down the coast. If Seatka could cause a person to gaze into his eyes, he would possess their soul forever. Chief Siskiyou and his tribe came to the ocean to feast on the great quantities of seafood. His daughter, Princess Ewauna, failed to heed her father’s warning to stay away from the sea.  Seatka captured her and carried her away. She turned her face away so he would not possess her soul and she turned to rock, with her face forever turned northward toward the moon. If you look closely at the picture you can see her face turned with her hair to the left and her nose and mouth visible to the right. IMG_4060

Speaking of Native American legends, we read that the town had almost been destroyed twice by fire, once in 1914 and 1936.  The second fire in 1936 devastated the town, destroying the entire business district and most of the residences. They do not know how the fires started, but the surrounding shrubs, dead leaves and trees quickly fueled the fire.  The people headed to the nearby beaches to escape the fire, with some people burying themselves in the sand to escape the flames. Legend has it when the white men took the land from the Native Americans, they put a curse on the town and that is why the town has almost been destroyed twice. IMG_4059IMG_4061IMG_4062IMG_406320180911_150020

Another day we drove to Cape Blanco Lighthouse which is the most western point in Oregon. This lighthouse built in 1870 is still an operational lighthouse and is the oldest operating lighthouse in Oregon. It is 256 feet high and can be seen for more than twenty miles out to sea.  IMG_4070IMG_4072IMG_4073IMG_4074IMG_4075IMG_4078

Next we drove to Port Orford which is geographically the westernmost incorporated city in the contiguous United States.  Established in 1851, it is the oldest platted town site on the Oregon coast. By the time we got to Port Orford the sea mist was rapidly moving in and we were unable to get good pictures.

Next up: Brookings, Oregon, our last stop in Oregon before returning to California.

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