We left Portland on Saturday after two very relaxing nights. We liked Portland a lot but then we expected to. It is not nearly as pretentious as people make it out to be (at least not the parts we saw). In our neighbourhood near the Alberta District loads of people owned old cars (I mean from the 70s and 80s) and lots of gardens had veg patches. There seemed a real community feel.
On the way to the coast we passed an old covered bridge like in The Bridges of Madison County.
As the coast got nearer, the weather turned a lot colder. This part of the Pacific Coast is well known for its fog and low cloud. Many days, even in the height of summer, the beaches are obscured. It was still exciting to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time though.
We arrived at out campsite, near Yachats, pretty chilly but after quite a few days in motels and Airbnbs, we were determined to get the tent out. We camped on the beach side of the road. The beach was stunning and went on forever.The next morning, we were lucky as the weather had cleared and we were treated to some fantastic views from the road which hugged the coastline for the first 50 miles or so.
The southern coast of Oregon had a really special feel to it. Too far from major centres to be a weekend destination, it is completely unspoiled. Our next campsite, near Gold Beach, had a weird German theme. We found out from the owner’s wife that her husband was from Berlin but the shop and bar were all decked out with a Bavarian vibe including oompah band music piped in. The owner made his own wurst which was for sale in the shop. He also sold German beer on draft which was truly delicious after 9 weeks of Budweiser and craft “beer”. The campsite was lovely and the beach was just across the road and was totally empty. Dave and I saw a Turkey Vulture picking over the flesh of something on the beach. I walked for an hour in the morning and saw not one person.
On our third day on the coast, we entered California, probably our last state on this leg of the trip. This was a real milestone for us. This is the area of coast famous for the Oceanic Redwood trees. These are the really tall ones, rather than the really wide ones. We rode through the Redwood State Park on a very gloomy and cold morning. It was totally magical. Just as you thought the trees could not get any bigger a bigger one came along. I loved it.
Our campsite that night was in Patrick’s Point State Park right on the stunning headland.
This was our first campsite with a bear box for you to store your food away from bears and other critters. We read that bears are frequent visitors to the site.
To be honest, if there had been decent affordable accommodation nearby, we would not have camped this night as it was just too cold and we were frozen but we knuckled down and got the job done. I was rewarded with an amazing walk on the beach the next morning and a fabulous sky full of stars when I got up in the night for the bathroom. It has been a while since we camped in bear country so we had to deal with our renewed trepidation. I must admit that I clapped my hands as I walked down the path to the beach to warn any bears of my presence.
When I got back from my walk, Dave pointed out paw prints on the front mudguard of the bike and much smears all over the tank and windscreen. On closer inspection and brief internet research we were reassured they were only racoon prints. Obviously too small to be a bear but we know how bears love our bike. The camera had a dirty lens but you get the idea.
On our way to see Foo Fighters in concert in the bay area, were forced to bail out on our final planned beach night due to the cold weather. We ended up in another old style motel, just east of San Francisco, but this one really had the 70s vibe covered. It was like being at home as a child.