A “Wow” Day

 Posted by at 12:26 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 062011

Yesterday was a day full of “wows.” We drove about 65 miles up the coast to Cape Blanco Lighthouse, and every curve in the road gave us a new and even more beautiful view that made us both say “Wow!”

There’s not a mile of the Oregon coast that isn’t beautiful, with the ocean surf crashing into the tall rock formations, called sea stacks, that are the trademark of the region. But I think the stretch of U.S. Highway 101 from the California border to Cape Blanco is the most breathtaking.

Coastal view 7

Coastal view 16

On the north side of Brookings, we stopped at Harris Beach State Park and walked down a rather steep, paved path to the beach, stopping to admire the wildflowers along the way.




The beach was strewn with driftwood, and we spent some time just soaking up the ocean air and admiring the view.

Brookings beach 2

Brookings beach driftwood

There are numerous viewpoints along the highway, and we wanted to pull into each of them, but if we did, we knew it would probably take us a week to get to Cape Blanco.

Coastal view 5

Coastal view 14

Port Orford beach 4

Many of the viewpoints had room for several RVs, and we saw everything from this small VW camper van, to large diesel pushers pulled over admiring the scenery. No overnight parking is allowed, but wouldn’t you love to just pull in and spend the day with a view like this? 

VW camper parked by ocean 3

 Discovery parked by ocean 2

Class A parked by ocean 2

This handsome bridge crosses the Rogue River at Gold Beach, and I didn’t even snivel when we drove over it! It may be a different story when we’re in the Winnebago, sitting a lot higher!

Gold Beach bridge 2

Don’t you wonder what stories this old hulk could tell?

Ship hulk 2

We were lucky to have a clear day with a bright blue sky. That doesn’t happen all that often along the coast.

Coastal view 10

Commissioned in 1870, the Cape Blanco Lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon coast. We paid $2 each and took the tour, which included a climb up 67 winding stairs to the top, where the Fresnel lens still sends its signal up to 25 miles out to sea to help ships navigate the treacherous coastline. Between 1852 and 1950, at least twenty shipwrecks occurred between Cape Blanco and Port Orford, a few miles to the south, including the oil tanker J.A. Chanslor, which hit an offshore rock in 1919. Only three of the 39 people onboard survived.


Lighthouse 67 stairs

Peopel in lighthouse

This volunteer tour guide at Cape Blanco Lighthouse is a fulltime RVer. We have met several RVers who volunteer at lighthouses. He and his wife work 20 hours a week in exchange for their RV site, and have the Pacific Ocean as their backyard! There are four RVing couples working at the lighthouse. If we were retired and had the time, I’d love to do something like that.


Climbing up all of those steps at the lighthouse worked up an appetite. What’s a guy to do?

Several people had suggested the  Crazy Norwegian’s Fish & Chips in Port Orfod, so after we left the lighthouse, we stopped for an early dinner. I had their signature fish and chips, and Terry had clam chowder and crab cakes. We both agreed that it was better than what we had the day before at the Sporthaven Marina in Brookings, which was delicious! There’s a reason Sunset magazine included this place in its list of the Top 10 Seafood Spots By the Sea.

Crazy Norwegian

After we ate, we stopped at a small park in Cape Blanco that showcases Battle Rock, a rough island just offshore, where for two weeks in 1851, nine men held off a war party of local Indians until they could escape under the cover of darkness. 

Battle Rock 2

The fog began rolling in as we started the trip back to Brookings, but we still had to stop in a dozen or more places to check out the view and take pictures.

Foggy beach

We got back to our motorhome at the Elks lodge about 7:30 p.m., tired but still in awe of all that we had seen in our “wow” day on the Oregon coast. 

Thought For The Day – Being an Islamic terrorist is like being a Chinook salmon. Life is good until the Seals show up!

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Nick Russell

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  12 Responses to “A “Wow” Day”

  1. Thank you, Nick. I needed that! Now I can exhale a little. Good coverage, narrative and pictures. You are the man.

  2. Thanks for giving us a shot in the arm. Although we’ve been to the coast quite a few times, it never gets old to see it again. Walking that hill at Harris Beach is great exercise isn’t it?
    One of our favorite stops is at Mo’s for some great chowder.
    If all goes well, next year at this time retirement kicks in and we’ll be off to the Northwest again for a nice long stay. ……… Have a great time.

  3. Great pictures. Nick as you move north there is a restaurant called Camp 18 on highway 26 turn off near Seaside about 18 miles from the coast. It is built in the style of a lumber camp and there are many old lumber pieces of equipment on display there. The meals are lumber man size and very good.

    Mo’s has great chowder and there are at least 3 along the coast.

  4. Nick, we agree with every word you wrote. We also felt the Crazy Norwegian’s food was splendid. As for Mo’s, her clam chowder’s reputation is better than her chowder. The quality just isn’t what it used to be! Yes, Camp 18 is a good place to visit — good food. For a good and fun fish and chips, there is a place in Astoria, just across from their wonderful museum — it’s a small fishing boat converted to a fish and chips diner, sitting on a trailer. You walk up a ramp to order your meal (and F&C is about all they serve), then go down the other ramp to where they have a cooler with sodas, pick out your favorite, then go sit at a picnic table, or in your car, or somewhere you find delightful to enjoy the meal.

  5. LOVE the thought for the day!!!

  6. Howdy Nick & Miss Terry,
    What’ll you do if something breaks?? Oh yeah, Miss Terry’s there.. How in the world do you walk vertical trails, climb lighthouses and not have stroke? You make me exhausted just reading about it !!!
    I’m only kidding !! Thank you, Miss Terry, for the wunafull-a-wunafull pics!!! The only thing is, they take a long time to come up(dial-up).. I’d love to take the trip up there but itz cheaper this way..

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes !!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I can see why yesterday was a WOW day! I like that idea of working at a lighthouse. I’ll have to investigate that.

  8. Many years ago Larry’s aunt & uncle worked in a lighthouse near Eureka, CA. We visited them there. Mentioning all the good places to eat makes us miss the coast, and we were there just last summer on the way south to Yuma.
    I bought my Sony E-reader because I could download books from the San Diego county libraries.

  9. I would have to agree with you Nick, the Oregon coast has some of the best sites to see and places to eat. We spend a lot of time along the coast and it is hard to say which place we like the best.

  10. Glad you made it to The Crazy Norwegian’s. When Steve and I picked up the Northern Lite camper in Bend, OR last July, we cut over to the coast and headed south. Loved your post and Miss Terry’s photos — it brought back great memories of a beautiful trip, and we’ll be going back again.

  11. The comment above makes a good point Nick even if he is joking. A really overweight guy like you needs to be careful on steep trails and stairs and the like.

  12. Pictures are wonderful. It brings back great memories of our trip up the coast in 2007. Can’t wait until we can go back again.

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