The last couple of days here the weather had been much more as we had pictured the Oregon coast; fog, sea breeze and salt mist. Not the best weather for sweeping landscape and shoreline vistas, but great weather for exploring, eating more seafood and hanging with friends. The RV Rally we were at was in full swing, so we did some fun local activities with them, but also had lots of free time. We managed to get back to Bandon, this time with friends, taste local beer at 7 Devils Brewery in Coos Bay, and take the Cape Arago Scenic drive as the rally was wrapping up.
The local weekly farmer’s market in Coos Bay is on Wednesdays and we had heard there are some great local vendors. It is berry season along the Oregon coast and we were hoping to find some. The market was great. We went with Karen. Brian had decided to stay at the rally for a Tech-Talk about engine monitoring systems, and since we do not have that brand, no reason for Craig to stay. We found some wonderful cheeses, flavored popcorn puffs, and of course tons of local fruit.
Karen and Bryan had not been to Bandon, so we headed down there with them. We visited a couple of the shoreline overlooks we had missed during our first visit, but with the fog and sea mist, you could not see very far.
Still, it was a classic looking Oregon coastline. Of course, we had to re-visit Cranberry sweets and try some samples and have supper at Tony’s Crab Shack. Great halibut and cod sandwiches this time and the chowder kept us all warm on what was otherwise a cool 61 degree, misty day. On the way home, we stopped in Charleston at a local bar, Millers at the Cove, for happy hour. Turns out, the owner is an Iowa State graduate and it is known as the Cyclone bar. The irony of the bar stop was we did not have beer at happy hour. The marionberry pie looked just too good to pass up and we all four devoured it ala mode.
What trip would be complete without a trip to the local brewery? The rally events included a trip to the local brewery, 7 Devils. Of course Craig signed us up. We each ordered a flight of tasters, 3 oz. Craig always tries styles he would not just order as a pint outright. The porter was especially good. Jennifer is a good sport and goes, Craig usually gets to finish off her flight though.
Friday was the last day of the rally and we had some morning activities and then had to be back by late afternoon for the charity auction and raffle. We took off along the Cape Arago scenic route. Jennifer had been wanting to do this the entire week, and it finally cleared up on Friday. It is a short route, so we figured a half day would be plenty of time to see the coastline. The route starts in Charleston, (see above) a small fishing town known for its oyster company. True to its reputation, there were oyster shells piled up as high as a three- story building
There are three state parks along the drive; Sunset Bay, Shore Acres and Cape Arago. Our first stop was Sunset Bay. We walked a trail along the ridgeline of the bay. It is a very popular swimming and kayaking area with a nice beach and calm waters.
One of our primary stops was to see the Cape Arago lighthouse. You cannot get out to it, but you can see it from a couple of vantage points. From one viewpoint, we found a very nice trail along the shoreline that follows a portion of the Oregon Coast Trail. We hiked it for about a mile and found a wonderful deserted overlook spot to eat our lunch. There was even a park bench to sit on.
Simpson Reef and Shell Island overlook is right next to Shore Acres S.P. We pulled in to have a look at the coastline and as soon as we opened our doors we heard what sounded like loud barking. It was. The overlook was right on top of a large mass of sea lions and seals. There were out on Shell Island, about a quarter mile away, but you could hear them all like you were right next to them, even over the sounds of the wind and crashing surf.
After spending what seemed like a few minutes; but was really about 45 minutes watching and enjoying the sea lions, we headed on up to the turn around point, Cape Arago. We pulled into the parking lot and found a short trail, hoping to get another view of the lighthouse. Cape Arago is the western most point in Oregon. Walking down the trail we started to hear the familiar barking we heard from Shell Island. And there they were, about 100 more sea lions. Only this time they were right below us, no more than a 100 yards or so. They were sunning, playing in the water and generally goofing off!
The rest of the day seem pretty anti-climatic after seeing all the sea lions and seals. As Friday was the last day of the rally, we headed back, had a good fun time socializing with all our new friends and said our good byes. It was a great week in the Coos Bay Area and we felt luck to see all that we did in no more time than we had. For sure the highlight of the week were the sea lions and seals. But a close second were the lighthouses and the wonderful, diverse shoreline that is the Southern Oregon Coast.
Next we headed up to the Yachats area and spent a few days along the central Oregon coast.