|Roadside elk in Cali|
Leaving Lassen Park that morning, I was first sidelined with an ominous "low tire pressure" warning on my car that took an hour to resolve. Then I hit construction hell between Redding and the California coast (Highway 299 west of Redding has got to be the worst road ever!) that delayed me at least another precious hour. By the time I finally reached Hwy 101, and the Cali coast, it was well into mid-afternoon. I realized I'd need to put the pedal to the metal if I was gonna get to Bandon, Oregon, my day's destination, by sundown.
|Park entrance sign|
But I wasn't missing a chance to see the California redwoods. Although originally planning for a long hike in Redwood National Park, I ended up with only enough time for a quick quarter-mile romp through lovely Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
But this little state park was a gem. It's lush forests full of enormous redwoods, I was totally awed by their size. Their bases were larger than a small car, with trunks soaring skyward towards the heavens. Sadly my lame attempt at photography didn't even come close to capturing their grandeur.
|Hike through an amazing forest|
Even though the dense forest made for tough lighting conditions, I enjoyed walking through the cool, dark, fern-filled forest. A welcome break after eight stressful hours in the car.
|Sunlight peeks through the tall trees|
Opting to detour from Highway 101, I followed the Newton B. Drury Parkway through the park. A narrow scenic lane that wound through the heart of the forest, it made a lovely side trip.
|Sunrise at Bandon, Oregon|
Then it was back onto Hwy 101, for the long trek northward. I especially enjoyed driving the southern Oregon coastline, which was drop-dead gorgeous. Sadly, there was no time for exploration. (I've already bookmarked this area for a return visit next spring) I arrived in Bandon just as the sun was sinking below the horizon. There was just enough time to check into my yurt at Bullards Beach State Park, before night set in.
|Fisherman heading out|
After spending three nights camping in a small tent, it was wonderful to sleep in a large, heated yurt. The next morning I woke before dawn and decided to check out sunrise on the beach.
|Coquille River Lighthouse|
Following the park road, I passed by a large parking lot and boat launch area. Looking back towards the Coquille River, I noticed the sun was beginning to come up. It was illuminating the river with a lovely golden glow. The nearby highway bridge made for a nice backdrop. Quickly parking the car, I grabbed my camera and hurried to capture this scene. I sat on the bank capturing this amazing sunrise and watched many boats of fisherman heading out to sea.
|Iron stained tower|
After the sun crested over the horizon, I returned to my car, and continued down the park road to the Coquille River Lighthouse. Sitting near the end of a grassy jetty, the morning light illuminated it's cute little tower with a warm glow.
|Morning light on the building|
Originally constructed in 1896, this light guided ships past the dangerous shifting sandbars at the Coquille River and harbor at Bandon. Although decommissioned in the 1930's, the lighthouse was restored both in 1976 and again in 1991, when a solar powered light was installed in the tower.
|Another lighthouse view|
Photographing this beautiful lighthouse on a sunny fall morning was a delight. Between the amazing sunrise and exploring this scenic beach, my day was off to a great start.
But after awhile, a rumbling tummy convinced me it was time to head into town for some breakfast. Stumbling upon a wonderful little bakery, I inhaled a delicious breakfast burrito, tea, and picked up some cranberry-white chocolate chip cookies to sustain me for my journey's final leg.
|Pier and boat launch|
Bandon was such a cute little town. After breakfast, I enjoyed a quick stroll through the main business district. I loved it's main street, lined with unique local shops - bookstores, cafes, antique shops, brewpubs. Bandon's waterfront boasted a wide boardwalk with amazing ocean views.
|Bandon public art|
There was even some interesting public art. This fish sculpture, constructed entirely of discarded plastic items, was prominently placed along the main drag. Not only artwork, this piece also sent a message - don't throw your plastics into the sea.
|A fish made of plastic|
Oh, I loved Bandon so much it was hard to leave! But home was calling, so I continued my journey up Hwy 101 before heading home to Portland via Corvallis and I-5.
A successful solo trip! I finally visited a National Park long on my bucket list, and revisited a lovely section of the Oregon/California coast. I enjoyed traveling alone, making my own schedule, and the freedom to stop to take photos whenever I wanted. Some have commented that I was brave to journey by myself, but I felt it refreshing and empowering. My motto is, don't let the excuse "I have no one to go with" keep you from doing something you really want to do.
Sharing with: Scenic Weekends and Our Beautiful World.