Monday, September 5, 2016

Coos Bay: Cape Arago, Shore Acres State Park and Other Things We Have Seen..

Our time in Coos Bay has gone by it usually does.  The weather has been cool with most days starting out cloudy and foggy.  The clouds usually burn off around noon or so and the afternoons are clear and the temps are not so chilly.  One day was especially clear and warm.  We took advantage of that good weather and enjoyed the Cape Arago Coastal Loop.  This offers some of the best sightseeing along the the Oregon coast.

Our stop at the Cape Arago Lighthouse lookout was clear and with a good view too.  This lighthouse has an interesting story.  It's located on an eroding island and unfortunately not open to the public.  It was decommissioned in 2006.

Continuing on the Cape Arago Beach Loop
we come upon Simpson Reef and the Shell Island Overlook.   All of those small brown dots in the photos below are sea lions and seals.  What a gathering, the most we have ever seen in one place and their noise was loud!  This is one of the largest marine mammal haul-out areas along the coast.

Just a little further down this scenic loop road, we come up to another series of amazing overlooks.

We came back to this same location on another day and scored a prime spot for a picnic lunch.

..and the southern overlooks at Cape Arago were quite impressive as well.

The road makes a return loop and we stop at Shore Acres State Park.  What a bonus!  We are so glad we decided to pull in and explore this place.  The gardens and scenic overlooks were incredible and the history here is fascinating.  Click here to learn more about the interesting history behind the gardens and geological location of Shore Acres State Park.  These are views of the interesting sandstone cliff formations.  These formations are evidence of the Juan de Fuca Plate colliding with the North American Plate.  More information about the unusual Coaledo Formation and it's 45 degree angle can be learned here too: The Geological Story of Shore Acres and Cape Arago.

The flower gardens were really nice, not quite the size of Butchart Gardens, but still colorful, quiet and inviting.

Nice greenhouse, small but still full of interesting flowers, hanging baskets and tropical plants.

The Gardener's Quarters.

There is a beautiful experimental rose garden too.

And a Japanese-styled lily pond.

There are several easy accessible trails that wind along the cliff side to ocean overlooks.  An observation building sits on the former home site of timber-baron Louis Simpson.  Sadly, this beautiful home burned in 1921. You can still see remains of the tennis courts.  What a view this couple must have had from their living room!

The salt water-eroded sandstone that looks like a honeycomb is called tafoni.

The black "bowling ball" type rocks are called concretions..

Last weekend was the annual Coos Bay Blackberry Festival.

The Coos Bay Art Musuem was open this day with free admission.

Wandering "sculptures" added to the whismical feel of this fun festival.

..and the museum had live sculptures blend in with some of their paintings too.

Salmon fishing season is open here in Coos Bay.

Labor Day Weekend found us strolling the waterfront at Winchester Bay, it was their annual "Art By The Sea" Festival.

..and a view of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

Coos Bay's Cranberry Sweets was a special treat, especially those free samples..yum!  It turns out, this place was visited by Rachel Ray back in the day when she did those foodie road trips: "$40 A Day: Coos Bay Episode".  All of their candies are made in house, so good and yet very different.

And if we ever decided to live in Coos Bay one day, I know which street I'd live on.

Now, I did research this and it seems there was an Indian in this area, back around 1853, that was named Tarheel.  He refused to be rounded up with the other Coos Indians by the white soldiers. Not wanting to leave his homeland, he hid for a week but was eventually captured in 1864 and taken to the reservation in Siletz.  He somehow returned back to his homeland in Coos Bay, walking many miles down the rugged Oregon coastline.  I could not find out how he got the name "Tarheel". 

We camped at The Mill Casino and RV Park which proved to be more than adequate for our home base.  We enjoyed lots of fresh local seafood and it was a plus that the casino's boardwalk was great for that needed walking exercise as well.

More later as we Eas-on Down The Road to Cape Blanco.

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys, your pics are gorgeous. That closeup with the bee, monumental!. I guess you will be coming down through California and then hopefully to Florida, we miss you guys. I want to get over to you once you are down and maybe we can explore a nice town with y'all near us. I want to see little boy again. Remember there are lots of parks here with loads of facilities and sites available. Look up Southern Palms, it is just down the road from us, it is an rv park with park models and owned by the company that owns us. Regards to Ron, give little boy a pat. Happy and safe travels till we meet again.