We woke up on Sunday with an urge to get over to the coast. The drive from Portland over the mountains to the Pacific Ocean is a little over an hour and we got to it quickly. Upon seeing the ocean, we decided to stop for lunch in order to fuel up for the rest of the day. This route is not the quickest by any means, but who drives down the coast to make time?
The Oregon Coast is nothing like anywhere else. Most of the US-101 that runs along the ocean, sits high on cliffs above the rocky beaches below. This makes for something that is not only wonderful, but unique. Since all of Oregon’s coastline is owned by the state, the entire coast is also very accessible. Every so often we would pull over and take a couple of pictures before moving on.
Our final destination of the night would be Brookings, OR. Brookings is the last city in Oregon before crossing the California border. It is also distinct for us in that my dad and his future wife plan to settle there when they retire in a few years. Without any luck in finding a reasonably priced hotel for the night, we decided to camp at Harris Beach State Park, just outside Brookings.
When we arrived at the campground it was not long before sunset. With that in mind, I grabbed my camera and we hiked down towards the beach. After the ten minute hike, I was able to get some wonderful shots of the sun descending into the Pacific Ocean. It turned out to be another outstanding sunset. Before long, we headed back to camp.
At 9PM the park ranger gave a presentation on the wildlife along Oregon’s coast. Apparently all of the rocks that rise from the ocean off the coast are set aside as the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. We learned about the diverse species that live on these rocks and what the government has done to protect them. It was very educational and interesting. Following the ranger program, we packed it in for the night.
Monday morning, after packing up camp, we got back on the road. In the northern part of California, the US-101 heads inland a bit and runs through Redwood National Park. I have always seen redwood trees in pictures, but never had I seen one in person. In consulting our guide book, we decided to visit Lady Bird Johnson Grove for a short hike.
Lady Bird Johnson Grove was dedicated about thirty years ago by Richard Nixon. It was named after Lady Bird Johnson because of here extensive environmental work. The grove itself features a mile and a half hiking trail which we found very easy to walk. Along the way we saw many different shapes and sizes of redwoods. Shawn Reece really loved seeing the redwoods and Jasmine and I enjoyed the hike. After about an hour, we got back on the road.
I had never taken the US-1 when it splits off of the US-101 in northern California. It is because of this fact,that I wasn’t aware of what a tough drive it is. The road is so narrow and winds so much through the mountains that it was not long before I regretted making the decision to drive it. We also encountered quite a bit of fog which also added to the stress. In the end though, we made it to our final destination of Vallejo around dusk. It was another full day of driving down the coast.
Tomorrow, we are going to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in the morning, before spending the afternoon in San Francisco. It is going to be a day jam packed full of fun! San Francisco is one of my favorite cities and we had hoped to spend more time there, but Jasmine and I have already been there before, so we decided to shorten our stay there. Wednesday we plan to drive down through Monterrey Bay before heading inland and seeing Yosemite on Thursday. California is the last state of this trip. We are getting closer and closer!
The Coomer Family