Sunday 31st May
Through the pine forest with occasional glimpses of the sea and rocky coast line below we continued our journey north. The cloud cleared and we had blue sky and sea for a while but the weather changes quickly here and we were soon back into low cloud. As in the previous two days we're travelling on a good two lane highway but with plenty of bends and gradients to negotiate as we are on the edge of the coastal mountain range. Ideally it is probably better to do this coast north to south so that you are travelling in the lane next to the coast where all the turn off's for the beaches and scenic views are located. We crossed the Pistol River and came upon a beautiful deserted beach where we stayed for a while to have breakfast and let Sandy off for a run.
We passed through the town of Gold Beach and over the wide Rogue River. The mist rolled in over the road from the sea and we needed our fog lights. The road hugged the coast but the sea wasn't visible through the mist. On the side of the roads and in the meadows spring flowers are out in full force here in Oregon.
We are staying at the Robin's Nest RV park in Bandon and by the time we arrived the sun had come out. This is a small well kept grassy site just outside town and about a mile from the sea. Tony first heard about this place from Peter who he chatted with at the Calistoga RV Park. Peter is from the UK but has been in the US for 20 years. Scott, the Park Host, gave us a warm welcome and settled us into our site. We plan to stay here for at least a week so that we can catch up on a few things like sending for our post and doing a few maintenance jobs. It will also give us chance to get to know the area and do some hiking and touring in the car. The last two days of travelling through wonderful scenery, from the sunny wine country valleys to the tall tree and pine forests, wide rivers, rugged coastline and deserted beaches has been marvellous. In fact, I think this last section of coastline easily equals the big sur and the roads here are very quiet. There is plenty to do and we are looking forward to getting to know the wider area. We needed to get some supplies and renew our phone card, therefore we had to find a Walmart and the nearest store was in Coos Bay about 20 miles north. Mission accomplished we returned to find a bag of cooked crabs outside the RV waiting for us. Earlier today Scott had said that some of the guys here on the site had gone crab fishing and if they were successful there will be fresh crab for supper.
Monday 1st June
June has arrived and it’s raining, the first rain we have had since Corpus Christi. Undeterred we were determined to go to the beach, I got my hooded jacket and water proof trousers on and off we went. There are three state beaches about a mile from the camp on Beech Loop Road. We went to China Creek beach and needless to say we were the only ones there except for a lone jogger. The creek runs between the sand dunes and the beach and we had to negotiate across the water on driftwood logs. The beach is wild and the dunes carpeted in spring flowers. It’s a nesting site for Snowy Plovers and some areas of the beach are sectioned off at this time of year. Came back drenched but cheered ourselves up by eating the remains of the fresh crab for lunch. Tony went to ACE Hardware in town to get a propane connector. He popped into Foleys Irish Bar to check out the guinness and got talking to Noel the owner. He had been to Cabo San Lucas in Baja California and Alaska, (both places we want to visit) and was therefore a mine of information. A caddie from one of the local golf courses was also there and he had lived in Alaska.
Tuesday 2nd June
Went to Devils Kitchen beach which is on the Beach Loop road. We had a nice walk through the pockets of mist that were still drifting across the beach.
As we were leaving we saw a dead seal pub on the beach which had been washed ashore. It didn’t look injured we guessed it had been washed off a beach or rock and was a causality of the high seas and surf. Followed Beach Loop road around and went into old town Bandon for a look around. The town is situated on the coast at the mouth of the Coquille River. Most of the buildings are wooden and the place has the look of an old fishing harbor. There is good sea and river fishing in the area and the crab season has just started. Off a wooden pier there is access to a dock for fishing and catching Dungeness crab.
Stopped off at Foleys Irish Pub for a drink. Peter, Suzan and Trey, their black labrador,
had arrived at the park earlier in the day and when we got back we sat outside in the sunshine chatting. After dark we tracked the International Space Station on a phone app as it came towards the coast over the Pacific. It was travelling at some speed but it was a clear night and we had a great view as it passed over us.
Wednesday 3rd June
Raining again today. Got on with a few chores and did the laundry. Sun came out late afternoon and we sat outside with Peter, Suzan and Scott.
Thursday 4th June
Our post from the UK arrived today which had been forwarded via Escapees, therefore we spent some time catching up with paperwork and emails. Tony washed the outside of the RV.
Later we went into Bandon and had a meal at the Wheelhouse Restaurant overlooking the harbor - excellent shellfish and fish.
Friday 5th June
Went into Bandon with Suzan to the Farmers Market. We took the Beach Loop road into town rather than the 101, past all the very impressive houses along the route, some overlooking the beach. The weather was sunny and pleasant at the RV park but when we arrived at the coast there was a cold wind and a lot of mist over the sea. The market had craft stalls, some specialist foods, sea food and vegetables. It was interesting to see what was being produced in the area. Went to the beach in the afternoon, bright sunshine but very windy. Early evening we met up with Peter and Suzan at the Arcade Bar in Bandon. This a sports bar overlooking the harbor and popular with locals and the caddies from the nearby golf courses.
Saturday 6th June
We were invited to Karen and Jim’s RV for early dinner to celebrate Mary and Bob’s 40th wedding anniversary and Scott’s birthday. There was twelve around the outside table and Jim had cooked smoked pork which was melt in the mouth tender, accompanied by vegetables and the side dishes we had all taken. Sitting outside in the sunshine we had a lovely afternoon chatting and eating. Both couples are regulars here and come to Bandon for the fishing.
Sunday 7th June
A lovely sunny morning and we headed off to the beach, however it was very windy down there by the sea which made it feel chilly.
The tide was out and some of the granite outcrops were accessible. Sandy has found a new game of mussel and clam harvesting. She can smell the clams under the sand and will dig down about a foot to find them. The mussels are all attached to the rocks or in clumps on the sand where they have been detached by the sea and washed ashore. Went into town, called in at Foleys Bar and watched a rerun of the ladies singles final at the French Open.
Monday 8th June
Took Sandy for a walk on the beach this afternoon and then went into Bandon for a look around the harbor area and to call in at the visitor centre. Caught up with Peter and Suzan at the Arcade Bar, Peter was playing darts. Came back for dinner then went to Peter and Suzan’s RV for a farewell drink together. They will be leaving tomorrow to start their journey to Alaska where they will be spending the summer. We had a good evening, lots of laughs and managed to fit in a few rounds of 'famous people' no idea who won.
Tuesday 9th June
Suzan and Peter left mid-morning Tony, Scott and myself waved them off. It was sad to see them go but we hope to catch up again at some point on our journey around the US and will be keeping in touch.
Spoke to Cerys and Steve on FaceTime and caught with news from home. Tony went into town to the barbers and came back with a new look, number 2 all over.
Wednesday 10th June
Went along Beach Loop road to Face Rock beach for a walk
and then drove on to Bullards Beach State Park just north of town across the Coquille River. Here there is a nice campsite set amongst the forest and picnic areas overlooking the river. At the far end of the park is the Coquille River Lighthouse which was built in 1896 but has not been operational for some years. It is staffed with park volunteers who talk about the history of the area and at one time conducted tours up to the lantern room. Unfortunately, it is now deemed to dangerous to climb up there.
From this point there is a 4-5 mile stretch of sand beach on one side which has piles of bleach white drift wood. From the other side of the lighthouse is a view across the river to Bandon. We made our way back to Bandon and Tony’s Crab Shack for a lunch of fresh crab and clam chowder. On our way back to the campsite we called in at Face Rock Creamery where you can watch cheese being made. They also make delicious ice cream and we came away with two of the biggest ice creams in a cone I had ever seen. The flavors were cookie and cream and cranberry cheesecake. Cheese making and cranberry growing are two long established local industries.
Thursday 11th June
A few more DIY jobs done today, notably a vent cover for one of the ceiling vents that is designed to keep rain out whilst allowing the vent to be open. Scott came over for a chat, a couple of beers and sit in the sunshine with us. We took Sandy to our local beach, Devils Kitchen and had the place to ourselves, we didn’t see another person. It was fantastic, bright blue sky, soft white sand, just wild and lovely, the only problem was the wind, a little bit too bracing. We found a place out of the wind in the lee of a sand dune and sat on a piece of drift wood in the sunshine. The dog was quite happy fetching her ball and splashing about in the creek that runs across the sand.
Friday 12th June
Went to the Farmers Market this morning in Bandon. Came away with a nice stars and stripes neckerchief for Sandy’s collar – all ready for the 4th July.
We have noticed on the roads around town signs indicating Tsunami Evacuation routes. At the market was a stall with information and advice about the subject. The lady on the stall said that the coast was overdue for an earthquake and explained about the fault line out under the sea. Went to the gas station to fill up the car, it seems that Oregon is one of the last states where an attendant has to pump the gas. Picked up some groceries for this evenings meal. We are cooking Crab Boil from a recipe given to us by Scott with a few modifications added by us. We have a new gas cooking ring for outside use and this will be our first meal using the ring. Scott brought his large cook pot over and we started to cook. First, water, seasoning, salt and whole garlic bulb cut in half went into the pot and the water brought to the boil. We added small red potatoes and boiled until nearly cooked then added halved Cajun smoked sausage, small red and white onions, pieces of corn on the cob and 2 cooked/cleaned crabs. Once all was cooked we strained off the broth and put the cooked ingredients in the middle of the table on newspaper. We eat the feast with butter and lemon juice, it was delicious
Saturday 13th June
With the amount of forest in the area logging traditionally has been one of the industries and one of the associated activities is wood carving. At the front of the RV Park on the 101 is a wood carving business and some of the work is very impressive. The one I particularly like is a large statue of bigfoot that stands alongside the highway.
There was another anniversary and birthday on the camp again this weekend. Karen and Jim have their wedding anniversary and Bob has a birthday. Bob and Mary provided the food this time and we had fish that Bob had caught, lightly battered and fried, accompanied by lots of salad and vegetables, my favourite being Bob’s potato gratin. We had a nice time with everyone and it will be sad when we move on tomorrow.