For 40-some years, PK and I have traveled to the Oregon coast. It's where we met in the 1970s, and where we return periodically to refuel. We did so in early October, and as we made the return trip to our inland Rogue Valley home, we reveled once again in our good fortune to live so close to an ultimate power place—the Pacific Ocean's interface with the wild Oregon shore.
I say "wild" because the Southern Oregon shore, in addition to being relatively undeveloped, belongs to everyone. In Oregon, not even Donald Trump can own a beach or block access to one. Since the Beach Bill became law in 1967, all 362 miles of Oregon coast is open territory. If you can drive or walk there, it's yours. Is that great, or what?
As usual, we traveled in our little Four-Wheel Camper clamped onto an aging Toyota Tundra. Also as usual, when we stay in developed campgrounds such as the Oregon State Park's Humbug Mountain campground, we brought down the neighborhood.
With a pop-up camper, no matter how deluxe we think it is, we rank just a notch above tent dwellers, who are usually segregated without electricity, water hook-ups, or, of course, sewer connection. (At this campground, however, the tent sites were the only ones on the creek! The fact that the creek was without water doesn't matter. Tent camping is encouraged in Oregon!) Directly across the camp road, however, we were hunkered amidst mammoth RVs. I have no problem with big RVs, but I don't want one.
Honestly, PK and I are a bit smug about our little 4WC. When we hear the generators rev up and catch the sterile glimmer of television screens, and people actually walking around in those those big boxes on wheels, we congratulate one another as we suck in our guts and co-exist in our roughly four-feet long, two-feet wide floorspace. The 4WC isn't for everyone, but for people like us who camped in tents for umpteen years, it is extravagant. It is bliss. It is luxury.
Locals call it Agate Beach, but Tseriadun is the official name.
Watch for sneaker waves! Also agates just lying about.
The Port Orford Lifeboat Station museum and associated trails are not to be missed if you have any interest whatsoever in how the early Coast Guard rescued ship-wreck survivors in this treacherous stretch of coast, and also how they lived in a structure that is now a museum. Even if you don't have an interest, you may develop one visiting the museum and trails.
|Whales! Or maybe only one whale, which cavorted near the seal-covered rocks.|
From Grants Pass, Port Orford is 153 miles, a three-hour drive.
Just up Hwy. 101 from Port Orford is Cape Blanco, the western-most point on the Oregon coast, where a lighthouse still beams and friendly volunteers will tell you that the lighthouse stairs are no longer safe since a recent minor offshore earthquake resulted in a lighthouse crack. New to me were the great trails and incredible views above and beyond the lighthouse.
|A new-to-me beach on Cape Blanco within sight of the lighthouse. Gail Frank leads the way.|
Fall is the best time on the southern Oregon coast, and don't discount winter; watch the forecast for winter weather windows.
Unless you live within a few hours of the Southern Oregon coast, you may not be able to take advantage of counter-intuitive realities; late fall and winter can be the best times to visit. Unless you're a surfer with a wetsuit, the Oregon coast is not for swimming and sunbathing. It is all about drama and grandeur with breathtaking vistas and myriad hiking ops. If you can, skip the crowds, visit during the off season and enjoy the "Brookings Effect" which renders the southern-most Oregon coast mild and dry while rain prevails elsewhere.
|A December sun sets in Gold Beach, Oregon.|