|WE MADE IT as far west as we can go - 5650 miles and 54 days later - and it is GORGEOUS.
We drove in rain over Oregon's inland lush green pine forests - very much like a rain forest - so different from Utah's desert.
But luck was with us today as the skies cleared, turned blue, and the sun shone brightly just as we arrived at one of the southern most state park campgrounds near Coos Bay, Oregon. We quickly took off to the next door state park - a botanical garden originally developed back in the early 1900s by a shipbuilder/lumberman for his personal enjoyment, then bought in 1942 by state of Oregon for a state park. Presently rhododendrons, some roses and a few other flowers blooming on a cliff overlooking the ocean - a happy environment.
Then we heard the barking - 100s of seals and sea lions right off the coast. This is pupping season and we thought we saw a couple of pups. Supposedly moms and pups are elsewhere and what we're seeing are only males. They sure are a lazy, awkward group who don't seem to mind crowding and noise. The pups nurse for 3 weeks and then are on their own. You can see in the picture of the Simpson Reef - that if you didn't hear the barking, you wouldn't even know there were seals out there. Until we used our binoculars we had no idea there were so many seals. See the blown up pictures of the reef.
We spent the next 5 days going up the Oregon coast - a total of 360 or so miles. Had planned on staying at some of the many state parks along the way - but had forgotten it was memorial day weekend - and they were too full.
We looked for shells on beaches - almost none, but found agates (little translucent pebbles). We went tide pooling (is that a word?) at low tide a couple of times and found gobs of big Sea Stars (the politically correct word for starfish) and Green Sea Anemones. The marine creatures bide their time in small pools of water left in rocky areas while the tide goes out. I was surprised to learn that sea stars can live out of the water for 5 days. Tis fun to see what you can find. Kind of like treasure hunting. Met up with a family with 3 small kids. The dad was a biologist and was trying to get his kids to be excited about what he was finding. Well, he got my attention. I loved hearing about all the things he was finding.
And we stopped at a couple of lighthouses, did a couple nice hikes, walked around Newport - a working fishing village - or I guess city. The fishing boats are gigantic, but most are in terrible state of disrepair. I included a couple pictures - knew my brother would be encouraged to see how great our Jasupepa looks in comparison.
We found "spouting horns" - holes in the rocks that the incoming waves pop up out of like small "Old Faithful" geysers. Neat thundering sounds too.
Driving up the Oregon coast is not the scenic experience of driving up the California coast. Much of the time the road (Rte. 101) goes through forests, big towns, and away from the shoreline - so you don't get to see the beach as often. There are however, many big sandy beaches that do have access - you just have to drive west a bit to get there.