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The impossibly beautiful Oregon South Coast.

Northern California

Battery Point Lighthouse.  Crescent City, CA.I woke up to the sound of the cresting Pacific just 25 yards from my room, and sunshine filtering through an ocean mist – and that wonderful smell of the salt-laden ocean air – magnificent. I distinctly remember thinking, “this…is going to be a very…good…day.” I had no idea just how good it would be. Look at the GPS below – it was “only” 144 miles, but what a day.

Per my discussion with a local the night before, I knew that low tide was around 8:00 AM. I made my way to Crescent City’s Battery Point Lighthouse, and was able to cross the strand onto the grounds. While walking about, I met a lovely brother – from San Francisco – and sister – visiting from Zurich, Switzerland. After asking where I was from, I explained the trip, and we learned that we’d be following one another during the day. We did run into one another at two points below.

I made my way back to Highway 101 heading north, and within a half-hour, found myself crossing the border into Oregon.

State Parks

View of Hunters Cove, Cape Sebastian State Park.  Cape Sebastian, OR.
Shortly after crossing, I stopped at an Oregon Tourism Center to pick up some brochures. I asked one of the volunteers if he knew why my first state park stop, the curiously-named McVay Rock State Recreation Site, was so named. He explained that the McVay family were long-time residents of the area who own significant parcels of land. I felt obligated to stop to see the rock.

Next up was a stop at Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor. Cape Sebastian offers stunning views. The claim is that on a clear day, one can see all the way to Crescent City. I made a quick stop at Sisters Rock State Park, which was pretty, but not spectacular. Port Orford was a gorgeous treat. Its Battle Rock City Park has incredible views of the coast. I sat on an overlook for nearly an hour, literally listening to and watching the Pacific as it churned within the bay. That stop was one of those that your mind records every second for permanent playback. It was awesome.

Battle Rock wayside.  Highway 101, Port Orford, OR.
Continuing north, I spent a decent chunk of time around the lighthouse and grounds of Cape Blanco State Park. I met a young couple visiting from Bavaria, and both excitedly and geekily pointed to Fiona’s BMW badging while stammering, “Munchen!” They laughed (at me). We exchanged cameras and took photos, then wished one another well. As I sat on the cliff, surrounded by lilies overlooking the ocean, I had a flashback to a 2000 trip to Ireland, and immediately thought of my mother-in-law. On that trip, we hiked through a bog on the Dingle Peninsula, up to a stunning overlook of the Atlantic. At that spot, I took a picture of Mum with an enormous lily, and instantly equated that very spot in Ireland with Port Orford.


Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.  Bandon, OR.Before I provide my thoughts on the Bandon, Oregon area, I’d like to take a detour and comment on a unique photographic phenomenon I experienced with the GoPro. I am a Midwest flatlander, so naturally wouldn’t think of something probably as obvious as this, but here goes. If, as a GoPro user, you ever find yourself traveling along a salt-bearing body of water, be aware that salt coats everything – including the plastic, waterproof housing unit of action cameras like GoPro or Contour. Salt does this frequently, and dries more quickly in direct sunshine. As such, do yourself a favour and frequently wipe/clean the housing.

I traveled through Bandon, County Cork, Ireland 20, 12 and 10 years prior. Bandon, Oregon was no less charming. I have to say that while traveling the northern California, Oregon and Washington coasts, I was many times transported to Ireland. There are scenes and stretches that are dead-ringers of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

I traveled into the port of Bandon and made my way to Bullards Beach State Park. I have a confession to make. The frontage road within Bullards Beach State Park is very long and unpatrolled. There was one instance on the trip when I cranked the throttle, just to do it. It was this instance. I am not a speed guy: I don’t lust for high speed, I am a very conservative rider, I don’t tempt fate. There was literally no one around. I absolutely opened the throttle and got up to 100 MPH. There – I just admitted it, full disclosure, guilty as charged, I’ll probably never go that fast again.

I made my way to the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. I’m not a golfer, but from what I have heard, the resort is one of the Shangri-la destinations for golfers. The grounds are immaculate, and seemingly stretch on for miles. I made my way to the pub/restaurant, where I observed a group of early twenty-somethings wearing Augusta/Masters green jackets while they pounded beers and shots. It wasn’t my scene, and I made my way back to the room to enjoy the sunset and crash early for a very busy next day.

The Day : Weather

Partly CloudySunnyPartly Cloudy Location State High (F) Low (F) Precipitation (in) Max Wind (mph)
Crescent City CA 58° 42° 0.00 13
Brookings OR 64° 43° 0.00 7
Port Orford OR 63° 43° 0.00 3
Bandon OR 63° 43° 0.00 8

The Day : Images

The Day : Video

The Day : GPS

Total Time 9:04:30
Moving Time 3:32:23
Distance 144.3 mi
Avg Speed 15.9 mph
Moving Speed 40.8 mph
Elevation Max 819 ft
Elevation Min 6 ft
Elevation Gain 5,519 ft
Elevation Loss 5,446 ft


The Day : Tweets

I thought the table seating 10 guys younger than 25 and wearing green jackets was very, um, sweet. #sarcasm #ANW2012
May 31 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Unbelievable property, holy “Old Boys Club”. There is a cigar and poker room. #ANW2012
May 31 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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Ireland (Republic of and Northern) and the Pacific Northwest are full-blooded siblings. I’m struck by the similarities. #ANW2012
May 30 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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I keep saying to myself that it can’t get any more beautiful, but it does. #ANW2012
May 30 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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FB and Twitter peeps – I am way behind on processing blog, photos and video. Tonight I promise to post 20+ “best of” as a teaser. #ANW2012
May 30 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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Another glorious day along the Oregon coast. Bright sunshine. Today is a slow day, only 130 mi, so am stopping a lot. #ANW2012
May 30 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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© 2013, Terry D. MacVey. All rights reserved.