Day two of my Southern Oregon coast trip, and I'd had a fabulous morning exploring the Bandon beaches. But all that wandering had worked up an appetite. Time to find some lunch!
|Whimsical restaurant art|
So I drove a short distance into charming downtown Bandon, hoping to find that perfect bowl of clam chowder. Bandon has a lovely boardwalk that parallels the Coquille River, lined by several seafood restaurants.
Oh, which one to pick? The Bandon Fish Market, with it's colorful school of fish decorating an outer wall caught my attention. But then I noticed a crowd of people gathering outside a tiny building with a red roof. Lots of customers usually indicates a good place, so I got in line behind the counter of Tony's Crabshack.
|Home of delicious fish tacos!|
Oh yeah, I chose well. Not only did I enjoy a sumptuous bowl of clam chowder, spying fish tacos on the menu, I made an impulse order. It was a good decision. Those tacos were to die for! Sorry, no food pics - it all was inhaled way too quickly. :)
|A great idea|
Post-lunch, I took a stroll along Bandon's boardwalk, taking in the views across the Coquille River and westward towards the mighty Pacific Ocean. Lots of fishing boats were tied up on one end, and the other housed a boat ramp and a long floating dock. A few people with fishing poles were scattered along it's length, trying their luck. One of the best things I saw was this kiosk at the boat ramp entrance, full of loaner life jackets for children to use and return. What a great idea!
|Cape Blanco lighthouse|
For the afternoon, I'd planned to visit another Oregon coast lighthouse. A short half-hour drive south took me to Cape Blanco and it's beautiful lighthouse.
Cape Blanco is a prominent coastal headland, rising 200 feet above the sea and jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. It's the most westernmost point in Oregon, and except for Cape Alava, Washington, extends the furthest west in the lower 48 US states.
|Ocean views from Cape Blanco|
Although a rough gravel road took visitors to the it's very base, I opted to park and walk the half mile to the lighthouse. I wasn't sorry at all - the road provided great views of the gorgeous beach below. Lots of colorful wildflowers bloomed on the grassy slopes. Plentiful photo ops!
Upon arrival, I took a quick swing through the gift shop. Then I climbed up a grassy slope and let myself in the lighthouse's side door. It appeared a tour was beginning so I hung at the back of the group, until the guide politely told me I needed to purchase a ticket at the gift shop if I wanted to join them. Hmmm.....I was a tiny bit miffed, having just been in the gift shop and no one had bothered to mention this. Disappointed, I decided to skip it. It was more fun taking photos of the outside anyway.
|Path to the beach|
Walking back towards my car, I noticed a couple groups heading down a flower-lined trail to the beach below. Never missing a chance to capture more lovely coastal images, I followed along.
|Lots of flowers here!|
It was so beautiful! The ocean sparkled a teal blue, capped by frothy white waves. Lots of yellow flowers bloomed in the grassy cliffs, accented by some purple lupine and more wild iris. Had it not been for the strong winds, I would've stayed there all afternoon. But on the way to Cape Blanco, the wind had picked up, and it was now blowing hard.
|Face Rock Wayside with fabulous light|
The ferocious winds forced me off the beach and into my car. I headed back to Bullards Beach State Park and spent a blissfully quiet two hours at my yurt (everyone in the yurt village had left for the day!). Around dinnertime, when the loud family made their rambunctious return, I took that as my cue to leave. Time to capture another sunset!
|Sea stacks in the evening light|
Back at Face Rock Wayside, the low western sun was illuminating its beaches with some incredible light.
|After dinner beach stroll|
I perched myself at one of the overlooks and enjoyed watching people going about their evening routines. A few folks were out for a walk, and one couple waded into the surf, trying their luck fishing.
Such wonderful light! I must've taken a zillion photos of this beach.
|Fading light at Coquille Point|
After an hour or so, I journeyed back to Coquille Point, my new favorite sunset-watching spot.
Despite the strong winds, it was a lovely evening. Unlike the previous night, the skies were mostly clear and a setting sun cast its golden glow upon the beach.
|Wonderful night for a beach walk!|
I wandered down to water level, gazing across the sand. A small group of shorebirds skittered at the waterline, searching for food.
|Gettin' up close with the sea stacks|
I headed back towards the sea stacks, admiring their spectacular shapes.
|I heart the beach|
And paused to capture a bit of artwork in the sand.
When the sun began it's final descent, this time I was prepared with camera mounted firmly on tripod. Good thing, as the wind was still gusting quite strongly.
|Shorebirds on the sand|
There wasn't any shortage of photographers tonight either. But for the most part, we all did a good job of staying out of each other's way.
|The sun is sinking fast|
Another fantastic orange-hued sky! It reflected on the wet beach sand, making absolutely stunning scenes.
|Sky reflections on the wet sand|
As the sun's glowing orange ball slid towards the horizon, I braced myself against the howling wind hoping it would hurry up and set. It was getting cold out here on the beach!
Another successful sunset capture! My job done, I headed back to the campground to endure another night of noisy neighbors.
But tomorrow I had plans to explore Shore Acres State Park, another hidden gem on the Oregon Coast. Coming in my next post....