Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Oregon Dunes, Myrtlewood, Coos Bay, The Oregon Coast, Point Orford and Battle Rock

My eyes hurt!  So much scenery, so little time............

I've spent the entire day whispering, "Thank you," for all the beauty we've seen........

Yesterday I was almost apologetic for the short distance we drove, but we had the excuse of mountains and scenery stops.  Today we only drove 85 miles, about half of yesterday's drive, and it was less due to mountains than to scenery stops. We don't want to leave Oregon, obviously.

Tonight we are in a town named Port Orford, and it's by happenstance that we are here..........but first, the day!

The Oregon Dunes State Park was the first place we stopped after leaving Florence.  My family camped there in 1959, so there were memories there.  All I can say is the beach goes on forever, and we had it all to ourselves for awhile. The campgrounds are under those low treetops, somewhere.

It was quite a hike up the dunes and then down them to the beach on the other side.
We came to a screeching halt in Reedsport, when I spotted the Myrtlewood Gallery alongside the road.  Randy had been seeing myrtle wood signs, and I kept talking about some of the art objects my mother had bought here (yes, you got it........1959) which I now treasure.  Myrtle wood only grows in northern California and this part of Oregon, according to a worker at the gallery. The artist in residence welcomed Randy in, and they disappeared together into the bowels of the gallery, and then beyond. I shopped a bit and examined the gorgeous artwork created by local artists.  When I finally got to the back of the place, I ran into Randy.  This is exactly what I saw: a man with a plan, with his hands full  of wood to take home!

 You can see the shop and the products and order your own wood or art online at
I wanted to stop in Coos Bay, because it is a huge shipping port, and much of the lumber industry ships its products out of there.  We managed to see some of these ships at the Oregon Pacific Company in North Bend, near Coos Bay, and my woodman jumped out of the car to take photos of his favorite stuff!
 We had read, in our AAA book, about Charleston, a small town near Coos Bay, described as "a quaint fishing village." I am a sucker for the word "quaint," so we drove too many miles out of our way to find Charleston, only to find a nice, little town, and we had lunch at the High Tide Café, on their deck. I am the one on the far right under the hood, with a blanket over my legs.
Sometimes I carry out my "If you CAN eat out, you SHOULD eat out," rule a bit too far, I admit.  We shared a grilled cheese sandwich with shrimp on it, and a big bowl of almost the world's best split pea soup.

Because we'd gone to Charleston, we were off of Highway 101, so had to drive 12 miles over some mountains on a road named The Seven Devils, to get back to our main highway.  Its name ought to give you a clue about it.  Once back onto 101, we promised each other that we'd take no more side tracks.  hmmmm.

Somewhere in this southern stretch of Highway 101 we stopped off and saw a lighthouse in the distance, but I cannot tell you its name just now. We also passed through some wonderfully lush forests.

 The story of our motel for tonight is the highlight of the day, however, so I've saved it for last. We had a reservation for last night, and felt, by the time we arrived at that Comfort Inn, that we had pushed the envelope, so to speak, by driving in the mountains in the rain and darkness.  So we decided not to make a reservation for tonight, but just to do our usual seat of our pants motels plan, and to stop at 5 PM.
At exactly 4:45 we rounded a curve in Highway 101 and saw a side street that went directly up a hill in front of us. Literally ON this street, in large, bold white letters was written the message, "OCEAN VIEW," so of course we went off-course, up that hill, to see the view, and it was magnificent!
We didn't even get out of the car, folks.  Directly to the right was the Castaway By the Sea ........"all ocean view rooms and suites," and we just kept on rolling into that parking lot.  Within minutes we had a suite with an ocean view, a kitchenette, and a fishing boat marina below.
 For the next hours we did nothing but sit and look at the serendipitous gift that the Universe had tossed into our path, and try to save it for posterity with our cameras, which had gathered some foggy lenses.  I will now share with you the view from Port Orford, Oregon, and Battle Rock, which sits near the shore.



Our motel host, Rockne Berge, told us where to go for dinner, and he was not wrong.  Below the hill where The Castaway sits, is a boat launch, and Griff's On The Dock is right in the middle of all those boats.  We had seafood, of course.  Isn't this just about the cutest, little beach shack restaurant you ever saw?  Not only can you eat here, but there's a free fishing museum in the back, AND you can buy bait and fishing equipment!


A short walk around the dock finished our evening out, and we came back to our motel where we are listening to ocean waves through open windows, while I write and Randy watercolors.
It just doesn't get any better than this. 

Text and photos,  Copyright: KP Gillenwater 2013