Day 3 – Rain. Wind. More rain. Whoa! That was a powerful gust.
This day’s journey would see us travel just over 100 miles from the Coos Bay / North Bend area to Harris Beach State Park just north of Brookings, Oregon. Getting there turned out to be a white-knuckle ride.
We opted for a “home-cooked” breakfast at one of the Kozy Kitchen restaurants in North Bend before hitting the open road. A minor medical emergency was dealt with and then it was time to brave the elements.
This was not going to be a leisurely jaunt with stops to photograph the scenery along the way. It was a get-in-your-vehicle-and-stay-there kind of day.
Turtle Rock As Seen Through the Rain-Streaked Windshield
The state of Oregon has a law that forbids you to pump your own fuel at the pump. Unfortunately, we needed fuel and stopped in Port Orford to fill the tank. We felt so bad for the woman working at the station who had to step out of her warm little shelter to take care of our needs. I thought she was going to get blown away. The rain was practically going sideways as we sat in the comfort of the truck. A quick check of the kayak and we were on our way again. Surprisingly, a sign on the side of the highway as we left Port Orford warning of high winds for the next twenty-some miles was not flashing. Holy smokes! If this wasn’t high wind conditions, I’d hate to experience what was!
The winds kept buffeting our RVs as we traveled south down the coast. Although we thought the kayak on the roof of the camper was secure, one gust of wind combined with the force of driving down the road turned it on its side. Luckily, Don saw it happen in his mirror and we quickly pulled over to rectify the situation. Poor Karl had to climb up on the camper roof to re-secure it. I don’t know how he managed to stay up there, exposed to the strong winds and holding the kayak down while straps were loosened and then tightened, but he did.
At one point along the route, we saw a another sign that warned us of high wind gusts. Gee, ya think? Only it wasn’t referencing our current situation. We popped out from behind a cliff to cross the Pistol River and wham! We got blasted with a powerful side wind that almost jerked the steering wheel out of Karl’s hands. Hang on, Sloopy!
This was turning into a very stressful (at least for me) drive. I was extremely relieved when we decided to stop at Harris Beach State Park and call it a day. Remember, I was already crabby from a lack of sleep the night before.
We all rested for a couple of hours, snug in our rigs away from the pounding rain. Karl and I took hot showers which refreshed our souls and bodies. Then I fired up the oven and roasted a nice pork loin that the four of us enjoyed for dinner.
After dinner, it was time for more games and laughter. Before long, sleep deprivation caught up with me and I went out for the night.
Day 4 dawned bright and partly cloudy. After breakfast, the four of us decided to explore the beach area before leaving the campground. It was still breezy but nowhere near the intensity of the previous day. We could see a squall off to the north of us as we made our way down to the beach on the rocky path. The dog were allowed off-leash and had a grand time frolicking on the wet sand.
Don & Debi
Karl and Sally (and the Dogs)
Enjoyment on the Beach
Harris Beach Breakers
Upon leaving Harris Beach, we continued south the remaining few miles to the California / Oregon state line. A few miles past the border, we stopped for supplies and then said our good-byes to Don and Debi. Their journey would continue on to Florida and we would reverse our direction and drive back north on Highway 101.
Our initial plan was to return to Sunset Bay State Park near Coos Bay. The weather was much improved from the trip down the day before and we would be able to see the sights we missed. We did encounter a few more rain and snow mix showers but generally it was an enjoyable day's travel.
One of our stops was at Arch Rock. What a cool rock formation! The waves were crashing on the rock and I can just imagine what it would be like if it was really stormy. We also lingered awhile searching for the tell-tale signs of the migrating gray whales. No such luck, though.
The pangs of hunger started kicking in as we drove north so we started looking for a place to stop for lunch. We were mysteriously craving fish and chips. Do you think it had anything to do with being near the ocean?
Returning to Port Orford, we passed a little restaurant called the Crazy Norwegian's Fish and Chips. We turned around, found parking and then dined on a delicious platter of thick cod nuggets and fries. Oh yummm…craving satisfied!
A Most Excellent Lunch Spot!
Looking South Towards Humbug State Park from Port Orford
With full bellies, we watched a couple of crazy rookie surfers in the Port Orford harbor and then commenced our trip north towards Sunset Bay once again. I consulted the Oregon state parks guide and realized that Sunset Bay did not have pump out facilities. We needed to empty our holding tanks. However, Bullards Beach State Park near Bandon did have a pump out station. Change of plans. We’ll stay at Bullards Beach for the night.
Since it wasn’t raining, we purchased a bundle of firewood and a fire starter from the camp hosts. Hooray! We would finally be able to enjoy a campfire. Karl managed to get the fire going and we sat around the warmth of the crackling flames before dinner. But wouldn’t you know it. As we ate dinner, it started raining again. End of fire. Time for bed.
It was a good day any way. Next, our return to Coos Bay.