We noticed the day before that our intermittent windshield wipers were acting up. Sometimes we would get one swipe across the windshield and other times would get up to nine. Crazy! We thought maybe the relay for the wiper was going bad. We decided to take a slight detour back into Newport and find an auto parts store. The store did not stock the relay and pointed us to the local Dodge dealer who also did not have the part in stock. We made the call to continue on and order the part when we got to the Coos Bay area since we knew we would be there for a couple of days.
Before leaving Newport, we visited the Yaquina Bay lighthouse, not to be confused with the Yaquina Head Light. It was built in 1871 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also is the Oregon state park system. The morning we were there, it was all shuttered up (maybe to protect it from the recent storms) but I understand that there are hours of operation when you can tour the light. It is still a working light from dusk to dawn.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Before long, we came to a pull out along the coast at Cape Perpetua, south of Yachats. Just so you know, Yachats is pronounced YA-hots. This place looked interesting, we thought. We got out and were greeted by two volunteers with whalespoken.org. Seems this was the peak migration week for the gray whales from the Arctic Circle to their winter grounds in the warm waters off of Baja California where their young are born. On this day, the high winds and white-capped waves made whale watching a difficult task. Normally the whales are easily spotted when they surface and blow to replenish their oxygen supply. The wind made it very difficult to distinguish the spray off of the breaking waves from surfacing whales. The cold rain also did not encourage us to spend much time gazing out across the ocean.
Looking North from Cape Perpetua
One neat thing about Cape Perpetua is the chasm there. The crashing waves would come in and blast the rocks, roil up into the chasm, and if lucky, spout out through a small hole in the rocks near the upper end. We walked down the path to try and get a better look at the spout hole. One wave had just come in and launched a nice little demostration that we caught the tail end of. We wanted to see the whole thing! So we waited and watched. And waited and watched. There were a few times we thought here it comes, only to see nothing.
Out near the end of the chasm, there was a large round hole in the rocks that I likened to a witch's cauldron. With much more frequency, water would bubble up out of it. I was able to capture a few pictures of the bubbling brew.
Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble!
Luckily, before departing the campground we stopped in at the hospitality yurt where we were given a nice little magazine with all of the Oregon state park information. I quickly got it out and lo and behold, there was a phone number for the park. Using Karl's cell phone, I called the park and explained my predicament. The ranger said to call back in five minutes - he would go check our campsite for the phone. I called back after the allotted time and sure enough, the phone was still there on the picnic, open just like I left it, but now it was wet. The ranger said it was still working though. I said we were on our way back to retrieve it. We had about 30 miles to back track to the campground.
After picking up the phone and a bag of free freshly popped corn, we were on our way south again. Actually, we tell ourselves that we liked that part of the coast route so much, we wanted to see it three times!
The weather was increasing in intensity as we drove to Charleston, so we kept our stops to a minimum. We made a quick stop in North Bend for supplies and then hooked up with Don and Debi.
The Bridge over the Coos Bay into North Bend
Worst. Night. Ever. Our campsite offered little in the way of protection from the winds off of the ocean. I thought for sure the wind gusts were going to blow the camper over a couple of times during the night. Plus the wonderful ratchet strap was vibrating non-stop throughout the night. I eventually got some sleep from 4:30 a.m. until about 7:15 a.m. Needless to stay, I was a little crabby after that.
Day 3 coming up....Charleston to Brookings