Highway 101: Yachats to Brookings

Miles today: 197 Total: 2,077 miles

Today we had a beautiful day driving the amazing Highway 101 between Yachats and Brookings, just above the border with California. What a road!!!!! Every turn, every corner brought the most amazing views and scenery. And it just got better and better the further south we got. The section between Bandon and Brookings was exceptionally gorgeous.

It’s not just the massive, pristine and empty golden beaches and the blue sea. It’s all these rocks and islets scattered just offshore. All sorts of weird shapes and sizes – shark teeth, haystack, castle, a woman’s head, a rainbow….. We could have driven the trip in 3 and half hours. It took us 6 hours because we just kept stopping all along the way at the many pullouts or viewpoints, to just look and marvel. I now think that this drive is better than Highway 1 in California. It’s stunning and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who is thinking of coming here.

But back to the beginning. Once we got past Heceta Lighthouse today, we were on new ground. We quickly entered the Oregon Dunes National Recreation area. A stretch of amazing sand dunes, running 50 miles along the coast, some of them stretching 3 miles inland, some of them up to 500 feet above sea level….. it’s a huge area. Some of the land is kept as an undisturbed wildlife sanctuary, some of it opened up to fun and games with dune buggies and atvs…. We were just passing through today but it would be fun to explore, given more time.

We stopped at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing area just outside of Reedsport on the Umpqua River – another mighty river. We’ve been hearing about Roosevelt Elk ever since we got to the Olympic Peninsula but so far had totally failed to see one of these creatures. The largest of the 4 elk subspecies found in the USA. So, we decided to give the viewing area in the refuge a go. And success! Sort of….. there are hundreds here but we saw 5 from quite a long distance…. still we saw them…. they exist…..

We had lunch in Bandon, at a viewpoint looking out at Face Rock. How to describe this large bay which is littered with islets and rocks? It’s beyond description. The islet that looks like a woman’s face looking upwards is easily recognised. Native Americans have many legends attached to this rock. There was still a cloud bank lying over the land at this point. It was very localised. About 2 miles south of Bandon, it disappeared, and we didn’t see another cloud for the day. Odd.

We continued south, past pretty little Port Orford, and then the views just kept on coming and we kept stopping, walking a few short trails to get a better view, snapping away. We just had the best time.

Got to our accommodation for the next two nights at about 4pm. What a stunning place!!!! Tanbark Guest Cottages. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/33969302?source_impression_id=p3_1661392039_QksPIefCnfe10R5L At the moment there is only one cottage – the second is underway. It is completely self contained within the garden of a beautiful and fantastic house on a cliff edge overlooking a cove…. more big rocks offshore…. The owners Debra and Scott were so welcoming and lovely and their taste and generosity is visible in the cottage – a bottle of prosecco in the fridge, fabulous coffees, chocolate…… in the garden is a firepit and a beautiful outside sitting area, looking out to sea. Washer/drier – just in time for my groaning laundry bag….. superbly decorated and furnished massive superking bed, comfy armchairs, 50 inch tv, spa shower… … Pardon my raving…. Just so nice to find such a treasure. Wish we were staying longer than 2 nights now…..