At last, we were ready for our final push back to the northwest… crossing into Oregon along the coast on Highway 101. I already had us booked at four different campgrounds, each strategically farther north near places we wanted to see, and hikes we wanted to do. While online, looking again at these things I discovered that Highway 101, near Brookings, was closed due to a landslide. (First reports were “sink hole”, but it worsened from there. The suggested route (and only option for big commercial rigs) was traveling inland to I-5. I had two problems with that; we’d be missing far too much of this incredible coastline, and the I-5 route would take us over Siskiyou Pass (too early in the year for motorhome travel), and our options for coming back out to the coast put us north of our first campground.
The one and only other option was Carpenterville Road… a 30 mile, narrow (VERY narrow two lanes in the best sections, more like one-and-a-half lanes much of the way), incredibly windy (blind corners all the way), mountainous road with crumbly steep edges much of the distance. It was, without a doubt, one of the toughest, roadways I’ve taken on. This time around though, I had John with me. And I had the good sense to send him a bit ahead of me in our tow car so he could be my eyes around all those hairy turns. When you have to take your half out of the middle it’s good to know no one is coming from the other direction. Still, it was stressful.
What would take about 45 minutes to drive in the car took more than an hour in The Beast. And to make matters worse I had an obnoxious log truck driver following me so closely I couldn’t see his front end much of the time. He was not carrying a load, and had his back trailer flipped up over the front one, shortening his length substantially, and he was in a hurry. Although I’d already used two turn-outs to let other drivers past, by the time he was on my tail there was not another safe turn out to be had. He honked and bared down on me for half the route. By the time we got to the end and pulled over I was soooooo hoping he’d pull over to… to give me a piece of his mind… because I was sure as heck in the mood to give him a piece of mine!! ?
Shortly after we got back on Highway 101, we stopped at a scenic spot near Pistol River. There I was able to shake it off with a walk on the beach with my husband, my dog, and my camera!
Another hour up the highway was our first Oregon campsite, Humbug Mountain State Park. I’d never stayed there before, and in fact, don’t even recall ever hearing the name. This campground sits in the woods in the shadow of Humbug Mountain. We arrived late in the day, so the impression of the campground was dark and gloomy. I’m guessing it’s a stunning place in the summer time when it’s warm and shade is a reprieve, but a somewhat dismal during the colder months of the year.
Nearby was Port Orford though, and the Lifeboat Station. The museum was closed, but one of the old 36′ surf boats on display. The history behind these boats, and the brave men who went into harsh seas in them to save the lives of others, is really quite incredible. Have you seen the movie, “The Finest Hours”? It depicts the courage of these men pretty well. You can find some of that history on these stations and crews at this link… Port Orford Lifeboat Station
While there we did a hike out and around the bluff where the old look-out station used to be, and then headed a bit farther up the coast to Cape Blanco Light. We took a wrong turn along the way and happened upon this cute little lamb (and many others).
And we flew the drone in Port Orford!
The next day we pushed on once again… farther up the highway toward Reedsport. We made two worthy stops along the way… First was the Coquille River Lighthouse which we couldn’t get to because of yet another road closure. (It was a harsh winter everywhere!) Still, we enjoyed it from an observation point across the water, and then stopped in town for a welcome cup of clam chowder. After that we made a stop at the Face Rock Wayside which offered wonderful views of the rocky shoreline, and of course… Face Rock!
After one more time at Humbug Mountain State Park we were heading farther up the coast to more dramatic coastline, more critters, and a lovely waterfall hike! All between Reedsport and Newport.