The weatherman had said it would rain today and have wind gusts up to 70 mph near Coos Bay. He was partly right. We had rain most of the day, fog and low cloud parts of the day and wind gusts for the first third of the day out of Crescent City. Since we are familiar with Pacific coast weather this was no surprise; especially in February.
A little wind and rain would not stop us intrepid Canucks from checking out the viewpoints and state parks along the Oregon Coast. Of course, the best way to see the beauty of the Oregon Coast is to go DOWN in the summer time. When you go UP you are driving on the far side of the road from the coastline. But, since it is winter there is very light traffic so we had no trouble making all the left-hand turns.
We pulled over about a dozen times in the 133 miles between Crescent City, CA and Coos Bay, OR. I took lots of photos of grey sky with crashing grey water and massive black rocks. I deleted a lot when I went through my photos and tried to select a variety for my blog.
Our first stop was Harris Beach South. We walked down a long and winding path to the beach in the wind and rain only to find the end of the path completely full of a driftwood logjam. Since all the logs were helter-skelter and wet we judiciously decided not to clamber over them and headed back up to the truck. At Lone Ranch State Park we were almost blown over as we stood on the cliff top to take a few photos. Here too, we walked the trail; which made a convenient loop. The water was smashing against the boulders near the shore so hard that clumps of sea foam would land on the grass and pathway. Even the gulls were wise enough to perch on a rock and not risk being airborne. A few stops further along was Arch Rock. This was a longer walk to the viewpoint but a lot of it was under a tree canopy so we were somewhat sheltered. There were two nice viewpoints at Arch Rock Park and we noticed that, like many of the viewpoints in Canada these days, the trees on the hillside were growing tall enough to obscure the scenery. The first viewpoint showed these waterfalls, which are probably only flowing due to the quantity of rainfall in the last few days. Many of the rocks, although huge, would disappear under the waves and re-appear with water streaming off them. To get a photo of Arch Rock you had to position yourself just right between a couple of large trees.We stopped at Pistol River North where it looked like someone was making a teepee. And Pistol River South where all the grass was thrashing in the wind. At Meyers Creek Beach lookout we chatted to a lady who had been on the road at 6 am out of Coos Bay and she said the rain was so heavy she could not see. Her wipers didn’t make any difference and she kept checking that her headlights were indeed on as they did not penetrate the gloom. The wind and rain was so strong she pulled into the lookout and waited for it to abate. She stayed longer than she planned waiting for a break in the clouds and a glimmer of sun on the water for a photograph – this was a good as she got. Cape Sebastion almost graced us with some sunshine. The clouds were briefly much higher and things had a bit of colour other than the grey we had been seeing.
It was a six-mile drive to Cape Blanco Lighthouse and on the way we took a side road to the Hughes House even though we knew it was closed for the season. I think it would be a nice house to tour in the summer. The drive to Cape Blanco light was only about five miles because the road was closed the last mile to the lighthouse. It too is only open for tours in the summer.
Our final stop of the day before we reached Coos Bay was in Bandon. Once again the rain was falling but we decided to walk a block or so around Old Town.
We only ended up going along a couple of streets because we got distracted with some very interesting art pieces in an open lot. They were made from pieces of plastic and trash but there was no identifying artist credit posted. As we were walking along the street we noticed a sign that said, Washed Ashore.org. Inside the building we could see similar sculptures to those we had looked at earlier. We went inside and talked with a lady for quite awhile. Unlike most art galleries we were encouraged to take photographs. The group was started by an artist who still designs the sculptures. A dedicated group of volunteers combs the nearby beaches for plastic that has washed ashore and it is made into art. They have 75 sculptures and actually lease them out to aquariums and communities to create awareness about the amount of plastic in our oceans and waterways. Each year they put together a traveling exhibit that goes all over the US.
It was really incredible stuff; all made out of trash from the ocean. There was a large work space at the back of the gallery where a group of women were working on sections of a new piece. This gateway to the work area is made entirely from chunks of styrofoam.
I photographed all the little blurbs from a couple of their big sign boards. We are so often just not aware of how much impact our negligence can cause. Inside a curtained enclosure the artist had created a ‘coral reef’ that, when the curtains were closed and a black light came on glowed in the dark from the luminescence in some of the plastic. From Bandon it is only about 23 km (20 miles) to Coos Bay and we drove it, typically, in the pouring rain. At the moment it has stopped and our trustworthy weatherman says it will be sunny tomorrow. I will wait and see.