California Trip Day 1: Bandon Oregon

Trip date: August 4, 2021

We were itching to get out for another road trip after being homebound for over a year; so, it wasn’t long after we got home from our trip to Glacier National Park that we headed out down to Santa Cruz, California. Like that last trip, we had to adjust our planned route home due to smoke and fires. Carla planned this trip for our entire family, but my oldest son and his wife couldn’t make it. But we had a blast with our younger son, his wife, and the grandkids. We made our own ways down and met in Santa Cruz for 5 nights. Here is our trip plan.

California trip planned route (Google maps)

A number of years ago my older son was a trial attorney in Coos Bay; when we visited him we often thought it would be great to use Coos Bay as the launching point for a trip through the California Redwoods. Before we actually made that trip, he moved back closer to home. Bandon, Oregon is a bit south of Coos Bay and we enjoyed it on a day trip back then so we set our sights there for our first night. When we left Portland around 10:30 it was already getting warm; and it got hotter as we drove down the valley. We stopped at In N’ Out in Salem for lunch – the first of a few such burger stops on this trip.

It was so chilly when we checked into our hotel up on the bluff above the town I had to pull my long pants and warm jacket out of the deep recesses of the car. Bandon is a totally different scene than the northern coastal cities of Manzanita, Cannon Beach, and Seaside – fewer people and still a touch of charm. Smaller, quieter, and hit by COVID-19 travel restrictions there were very few tourists in town. The hotel desk clerk suggested we head out early if we wanted dinner. Indeed, at about 5:30 we had slim pickings for dinner; nevertheless, we found a small fish and chips joint – The Fish and Chips Chowder House. We sat outside near this great mural of an octopus.

Octopus mural in Bandon, Oregon

Much of the tourist part of Bandon is a mile or so in from the coast on the Coquille River – near the bend to the north in the map image below.

Bandon, Oregon (Google Maps)

After dinner we walked up and down the piers enjoying the sea/river view.

Bandon, Oregon

You can get a sense of the chill and breeze in this next picture. You can see why in Oregon we say we are going to “The Coast” and not “The Beach”.

Looking down the Coquille, River to the ocean in Bandon, Oregon

Reading the Wikipedia article about the lighthouse I’m not sure if it is functional or not; we sure didn’t see a light on our visit, but perhaps it wasn’t dark enough.

Coquille River Lighthouse. Bandon, Oregon

Meanwhile there were closer subjects for my camera. I like this bright yellow boat; this picture could almost be a jigsaw puzzle.

The Barbara K. Bandon, Oregon

And if you are on the Oregon coast, you’ll get your share of gulls to pose for you. On an old light…

Seagull in Bandon, Oregon

In a parking lot…

Seagull in Bandon, Oregon

The Washed Ashore ogranization has a sobering sculpture – Henry the Fish – build of “beer cans, water bottles, beach toys, plastic bags” that find their way to the ocean.

Henry the Fish sculpture of ocean litter in Bandon, Oregon

Here is a closeup.

Henry the Fish closeup. Bandon, Oregon

Henry is retiring and Henrietta the Tiger Rockfish will be taking his place. It’s so upsetting that there is so much crud in the ocean.

Henrietta the Tiger Rockfish skeleton.

Henry and Henrietta were designed by Anglea Haseltine Pozzi.

Our next day’s trip would be through the northern Redwoods. As we sat in our hotel room enjoying the view of the town we scoped out the next days route. Uh oh. There was a major landslide on US Highway 101 which closed the highway during most of the day. There is a three hour window starting at noon when cars can pass through one direction at a time. We quickly adjusted our plan to get to the roadblock by 1:00PM. Driving inland to I5 then back to the Redwoods would be a 5 to 8 hour trip. More on that on the next post.

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