California and Oregon on Highway 101 (Coast), August 8-9, 2001
After spending the night in the KOA in Petaluma, we headed for the coast. Up 101 to Cloverdale before turning east on 128 to Albion and Highway 1. We passed through Mendocino, Fort Bragg, Eureka, and Redwood National Park on the way to Oregon. In Oregon, the drive takes us through Brookings, Bandon, Coos Bay, Florence, Newport, Tillamook, and the upscale Cannon Beach. There is much to see, and love, in this part of the United States. On the left is a shot of the beach at MacKerricher State Park, California.
Click on thumbnails for larger view:
Our first view of the Pacific ocean! Stopped here for stretch break and lunch.
From here we are heading up the coast through Mendocino - and on to MacKerricher State Park.
MacKerricher State Park offers a variety of habitats; beach, bluff, headland, dune, forest and wetland. Tidepools are along the shore. Seals live on the rocks off the park’s Mendocino coast. During winter and spring, the nearby headland provides a good lookout for whale watching. The park is popular with hikers, joggers, equestrians and bicyclists. Debra walks along the wheelchair accessible nature trail.
The park is three miles north of Fort Bragg on Highway 1. Very beautiful. Couldn't stay long - we have a couple hundred miles to go before dark. Crescent City, via Redwood National Park, is tonight's destination.
After breakfast, we're on the road again. A planned stop at Gold Beach is scrapped due to fog. We push on to Bandon. Ah, Bandon. This might be the place I loved most. Bandon has one of the most scenic - and extensive - beaches for walking or running to be found on the Oregon coast. There is a nice drive along the shore. Beach Loop Road will conveniently deposit you in Old Town - which is really well done.
There is beach access on both sides of Coquille Point via new stairways. Sit and relax on the benches provided. Tide pool exploring is the best here. There is a paved interpretive walkway with large signs providing information on the area's vegetation, birds and sea life.
During the winter storms, tons of wood are deposited on the Bandon beaches. Many different types of wood can be found, some of it used by woodworkers and craft people. Watch out for sneaker waves.
On the west side of 1,000-foot-high Heceta Head, 205 feet above the ocean, the Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most photographed on the coast. The light at top of 56-foot tower was illuminated in 1894; the automated beacon, seen 21 miles from land, is rated as the strongest light on the Oregon coast. The historic assistant lighthouse keeper’s house (Heceta House; built 1893) offers bed and breakfast rentals and facilities for group events; call (541) 547-3696 for info.
File under: I Cannot Believe I Did This. Midway along Oregon’s spectacular coast is the world’s largest sea cave and home to the wild Stellar sea lion. Sea Lion Caves is open year round and offers visitors an intimate glimpse of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Located just 11 miles north of Florence on Highway 101. We saw the signs, needed a break, and said "what have we got to lose?" Tours begin at the main building and gift shop where visitors must descend a flight of stairs to an inclined scenic pathway that leads to an elevator. Once in the elevator, visitors descend approximately 208 feet down into the vast cavern below, which is known as the hauling area for the sea lions.
Formation of the cavern began about 25 million years ago when the ocean began gradually to erode the basalt rock that was created by lava flow from volcanic eruptions colliding with the cold ocean waters. Today the cave soars to the height of a 12-story building and stretches the length of a football field. At the north end of the cave there is a lookout point from which visitors can view the famous Heceta Head Lighthouse or look down on the rookery below. For spectacular scenery, whale-watching, fascinating wild birds and a close-up view of seal lions at home and at play, add Sea Lion Caves to your coastal itinerary.
Located on a rocky peninsula thrusting into the Pacific 3 miles north of Newport, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest on the Oregon Coast at 93 feet in height. The lighthouse is open 12 to 4 PM for viewing (weather permitting). It is an active lighthouse and has been lit continuously since 1873.
Today the lighthouse is the centerpiece of Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, and is one of the most-visited lights on the west coast, with over 400,000 visitors each year.
The fixed white light was first illuminated on the night of August 20, 1873, when Head Keeper Fayette Crosby lit the 4-wick lamp fueled by lard oil. The massive white conical shaped tower was built with double-walled brick, for insulation and dampness protection. The tower’s 370,000 bricks and ironwork were made in Oregon.
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. Cannon was ranked number seven of the "World's Best Beaches" by the Travel Channel. This vacation destination has a little bit of everything, along with a whole lot of beautiful ocean. The entire town lies parallel to a scenic beach that features the famous Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach is also home to Ecola State Park, one of the most beautiful scenes in all of Oregon.
Cannon Beach was named for the cannon that washed ashore from a schooner shipwrecked in 1846. The community has retained a small town aura despite being a magnet for crowds from Portland and farther. Cannon Beach is one of the centers for artistics activity on the Oregon Coast.
Haystack Rock is one of the most popular attractions on the Oregon coast. Towering 235 feet above sea level, it is a protected area, both above and below the high tide line. The public is not allowed to remove life forms from within 300 meters of Haystack Rock or to climb above the barnacle line that surrounds Haystack and the other protruding rocks. Dinner and on to Warrenton to spend the night.
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Return to West Coast trip, 2001.