At first I was disappointed in the shot I got of the Oregon welcome sign because it was raining and blurry, but then I realized after being in Oregon for a month that this picture really sums up our time here… rainy and it went by in a blur. We bounced back and forth between the coast and inland. Our first stop driving up from the Redwoods is Bandon.
Right off the bat, Oregon has a lot I like, the gas prices are back down to being reasonably priced, they pump your gas for you (only other state that has a law against pumping your own gas is New Jersey) and there is no sales tax! At first I didn’t like someone pumping my gas for me but I quickly changed my mind after all the cold rain- it was nice not to have to get out of my car.
The first thing we noticed on our drive up the coast and entering Bandon, were all the cranberry bogs. Our RV park was next an Ocean Spray factory. It’s fun to discover something totally unexpected! I’ve never seen a cranberry bog before, well expect on Ocean Spray commercials. I called all the farms in the area hoping to get a tour or quick lesson and no one called me back. Apparently one will do this during harvest in the fall. Oh well we researched it on our own.
Our first stop in Oregon was a cute coastal town called Bandon by the Sea.It is also called “The Cranberry Capitol of the World,” as well as the “The Storm Watching Capitol of the World.”
It was unusual to see Tsunami Evacuation Maps and signs throughout the town. We took note on what they suggested and basically learned if you feel the ground shake get to high ground because a tsunami can come with in 10-15 minutes and up to 12 hours after.
The city of Bandon is known for a very popular sea stack called Face Rock. The legend paints a picture of many Indian tribes gathering together in celebration. Chief Siskiyou, accompanied by his daughter, Ewauna, traveled to the meeting from the mountains to the east. All the tribes brought food and they had a potlatch (a feast- like a potluck). Ewauna was gorgonized by the ocean. The Chief warned her about the evil spirit of the sea, Seatka, but she ignores the warnings and goes down to the ocean with her dog, Komax and a basketful of kittens. There she is attacked by Seatka. as a result she is frozen forever, staring up at the sky to avoid looking into Seatka’s eyes where his power was said to dwell. Her kittens are also scattered out around her, while the dog Komax howls onshore in rage.
We were able to visit the beach almost everyday because it was just a 3 minute drive. Going to the beach on the Oregon coast in March/April doesn’t look like the Spring Break on Panama City Beach- that’s for sure. It’s cold and windy! You’ll notice we wore hats and gloves most of the time and did not get our feet wet. The climate here is 40-55 degrees year round.
We loved whale watching from the shore. We could see two spouts, one right after another, indicating a mother and baby- it could be the same pregnant grey whales we saw in San Diego. I also LOVED the sunsets at Face rock beach each night (can you tell by all my photos?). The Oregon coast is magical.
During the day. At Sunset.
Exploring the beach and tide pools. We found a crab that looked to be struggling to live because it was stuck when the tide went out so we tried to put it in water but we think it was too late.
We had a lot of fun trying to fly in the wind tunnels and flying kites.
There are other day-use beaches, run by Oregon State Parks, along the Beach Loop behind our RV park. We also visited Devils Kitchen one night. I am not sure why it is called that, I forgot to look it up. There is probably a lovely Indian story to go along with it. Regardless, it was a lovely place to sit and watch the sunset with my hubby while the girls danced around on the sand and climbed driftwood.
Face Rock Creamery
Bandon has dairy in its roots, it has an ideal climate for supporting lush green pastures. The rugged terrain is a result of coastal storms and salty winds combined with high humidity and cool evenings that help make richer grasses year-round. This is important because the grass-fed cows produce the best milk, thus the best cheese and ice cream!
I loved tasting the cheese and we watched them making cheese curds while we all enjoyed the delicious ice cream which was only $2 for a single scoop which was actually 2 huge scoops. $2!crazy cheap! We visited there twice- Dah! FYI- they don’t make cheese on the weekends so stop by during the week to see them in action.
USA Today ranked the crab sandwich at Tony’s Seafood in the top 10 of all of Oregon so we had to try it. Tony’s was a quaint place in downtown Bandon. They catch the Dungeness crab right behind the restaurant and then steam them and serve them. The girls had a full crab while Chris and I had the sandwich. We all left full and happy to get our crab fix.
Bandon Dunes Golf Course
Chris played Bandon Dunes Golf Course. It is #7 in the top 100 public golf courses in the US. It was the windiest round of golf he has ever played, As you can see from the progression of his flag selfies, he started off with no hat and ended up with a ski cap and gloves. It’s right on the coast which makes it so beautiful.
Bullard Beach and Lighthouse
The historic Coquille River Lighthouse is located here. Oregon has many beautiful lighthouse scattered along the coast, stay tuned for more. Those and the covered bridges, my mom would be in heaven!
The next three pictures are from the Bandon side of the lighthouse. Along with the new functioning lighthouse and warning sound.
This is Bullards Beach. They have great RV and tent sites. The driftwood is everywhere. You can get up close to the lighthouse at the end of Bullards Beach Road. It was closed for the winter but is staffed from May- Sept.
Horseback riding on the beach
We had never done this before- what a thrill! But it was super windy and cold, we wished it wasn’t so cold.
Bandon by the Sea Downtown area
There are a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants in town. The Bandon Historic Museum is a must stop. The Bandon Historical Society was founded in 1976 and is a non-profit that focuses on presenting historical artifacts related to the history of the Bandon area. It only costs a $3 for adults and the kids are free! They have a great program for the kids where they give them a scavenger hunt booklet to find treasures around the museum. When they are completed they let them pick out a prize.
We learned more about cranberry bogs and the history of the two fires of Bandon and an invasion of a yellow plant called Gorse that has nasty thorns and is full of petroleum that burns fast and furious.
I love walking through places like this and showing the girls antiques like this typewriter!
There is a cool recycling store called Washed Away that they collect trash from the ocean and make really cool pieces of artwork.
Bandon by the Sea RV Park
They have pull through sites with 50 amp service. We stayed in site 15. It looked out at the Grouse bushes so it was private and we could leave our front window open the whole time. The girls picked up litter along the edges because it gets stuck in the thorny grouse bushes when the wind blows.
The staff was friendly and park was quiet. It is only 3 min drive to the beach to watch sunsets. There were cute teacups hanging on the fence post boarding the park.
I’m so glad the camp host at the RV park told me about this gem! We were lucky enough to be around for this event on Friday night and the weather was nice. Denny Dyke’s labyrinth ministry ~ Sacred Journeys is a non-profit free community project that he does during the spring and summer at Face Rock beach. The Labyrinths that he draws are for the public to walk through at sunset. We arrived early enough to watch the two hour creativity unfold and then walked through it when he was done.
We have a really neat story to share about this event. As we stepped up to the path entrance a women was holding out a bowl full of small polished colorful rocks and told us to each take one as it was a dream rock. I was looking down as she spoke and quickly looked up because I recognized her voice. She was a woman the girls and I had hiked with for 5 hours on a ranger lead hike in Tonto national forest, Arizona. We had walked and talked and took turns taking pictures of each other without ever exchanging names or where she was from. Well, here she was in Bandon, OR, her home town. Tari immediatly handed her bowl to someone to take over and we chatted for a bit and then walked through the labyrinth together. It was her 70th birthday that day- Happy Birthday, Tari! Isn’t that crazy? SMALL WORLD!
West Coast Game Park Safari
Just 10 minutes away was a great zoo called the West Coast Game Park Safari. As soon as you walk though the gate you are greeted by animals. They have lions, tigers and bears, oh my. We loved cuddling with ferrets, petting a bobcat and a lynx, and holding a opossum. The llama spit on Abby and Mackenzie was spat on by a Chimpanzee.
I found two playgrounds for the girls here. This one was at the elementary school and since it was spring break for this district it worked out great. The other one was called Bandon City Playground and because this one was next to a baseball field there were tons of kids there. The girls had fun playing tag with 8 other kids.
We did drive up to Coos Bay, a bigger city along the coast (actually the largest coastal city in OR), north of Bandon. There is a small airport there that Chris had to rent a car from so he could drive to a larger airport to fly out for business. We caught up on our Marvel movies and watched Black Panther before dropping him off.
Along with cranberry bogs, lush green grass for grazing, storm watching, this area has a long history of logging. On the drive to Coos Bay we saw thousands of acres that had been logged, trains full of logs, then cut lumber then piles of mulch. We even saw what I looked up to be called a hot pond to store the logs until they could be cut.
The speed limit signs in the state of Oregon are the biggest I’ve ever seen.