“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate dress” – Oregon coastal saying from the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway brochure
On our first day, we explored old town Bandon, a few square blocks with shops and restaurants, some in restored buildings. There is a boardwalk that runs along the waterfront where the Coquille River empties into the ocean. The town is very cute and compact.
A standout little restaurant was Tony’s Crab Shack and Seafood Grill on the waterfront. We love little seafood shacks on the water, although this one doesn’t have a view. But lunch was fresh and good and we also bought fresh oysters and clams for my birthday dinner.
We also found a fabulous chocolatier – Coastal Mist Chocolate Boutique. Oh boy, that was a dangerous find. Hector bought a couple of yummy individual cakes for my birthday and a few beautiful chocolates. And we had some very fine hot chocolates there.
That evening, Hector made the most delicious Cosmopolitans to begin my birthday celebration. Followed by dinner which included raw oysters, steamed clams and artichokes. And, of course, the fabulous chocolate desserts! Yum! It was much better than any fancy restaurant could have been.
But we still spent time out on the beach most days. The state park had a trail to a gorgeous beach. Because of the high surf, we kept Angel on leash. She loves to walk on the water’s edge, but she’s not a water dog, and there were lots of warnings about “sneaker waves” so I didn’t want to take a chance.
It was a huge beach and the only other people we encountered on the beach were a couple of folks on horseback – very romantic. Since we forgot Angel’s travel bowl and it was a ¾ mile trail back to the campground, we found a deep shell to use for her water. She looked so cute sipping out of the seashell!
And we got to observe seals and their pups once again. Getting too close can spook the mother seals and cause them to abandon their pups, so we only observe them from a distance through our binoculars and long lens. The pups should be a couple of months old at this point and are pretty big and fat – adorable!
During this windy time, we saw a Coast Guard rescue training exercise. This is the second time we see the Coast Guard on a rescue mission, the first time was actually a real rescue in San Diego.
A helicopter flew low close to the water so that a Coast Guardsman could leap into the water to “rescue” a swimmer.
We thought the exercise was over but then the helicopter came in to hover in a pretty precarious spot just above the water. Then, incredibly, the Coast Guard rescue swimmer jumped off the boat and swam against the tide and wind to a spot where the helicopter lowered a sling and lifted him back.
Next, we visited the Coquille River Light, an adorable little lighthouse that was lit in 1896 to guide ships past that same nasty sandbar.
The lighthouse is pretty unique; it’s a cylindrical tower attached to an octagonal building that used to house fog signal equipment. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1939 and its original light, a fourth-order Fresnel lens was removed. It was abandoned for years and sat in disrepair but several restoration projects since 1976 have brought it back to life. It’s cute and compact, just like the town.
While in Bandon, I found out that a couple of other bloggers, Leigh and Brian, whom we’d never met, were at Cape Blanco State Park. Hector and I planned to visit the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, so I sent them a message and we planned a rendezvous.
We took a tour of the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, the oldest continually operating lighthouse in Oregon, first lit in 1870. The lighthouse is located on the most westerly point in Oregon at 245 feet above sea level on a headland bordered by dramatic cliffs.
The road out to this windy and dramatic point reminded me of the setting of another lighthouse in New Brunswick, Canada named Cape Enrage, that we visited last summer, although the lighthouses themselves are very different.
Afterwards, we drove through the state park to check the campground out. And that is where we bumped into Leigh and Brian, whom we were planning to meet at a restaurant called the Crazy Norwegian. Although we weren’t sure it was them, we recognized their dog, Curtis, whose photographs frequently grace their blog, Aluminarium.
On our last day in Bandon, we went to the farmers market. It’s a small market but we found a few nice things, including some very yummy cheesecake. Bandon was turning out to be quite fattening.
Then we headed out for one last sunset at the beach where we had watched the sunset a few evenings earlier. Another clear and windy day but the sunset was a bit brighter and the setting was spectacular.